CYRIL Rioli has returned to his brilliant best with a blistering third quarter to help Hawthorn rebound from Easter Monday disappointment with a clinical 66-point win over Richmond at the MCG.
Although not quite hitting top gear, the Hawks were still too quick and classy for the Tigers, winning 18.10 (118) to 7.10 (52) at the MCG and bouncing back from their loss to Geelong last week.
The brilliant Rioli attracted criticism for his seven-disposal outing against the Cats but proved he is a quality-over-quantity player against the Tigers, with all four of his goals coming in the third term.
His 17 disposals came at a remarkable 100 per cent efficiency, and his deft taps and tackling pressure were instrumental in setting up many Hawthorn scoring opportunities.
Sam Mitchell, playing his 250th game, also guided the Hawks to their fifth win of the season. He led the way through the midfield, gathering 35 disposals in a consistent effort for which the Tigers had no match.
The 31-year-old had 10 possessions in the first quarter to set up the Hawks' win and kept going, gathering more than 30 disposals for the third time this year.
David Hale (two goals) offered a tall target with Jarryd Roughead well held by David Astbury, Ben McEvoy (22 possessions, 22 hit-outs) was dominant in the ruck and underlined the Tigers to be severely missing Ivan Maric, while Taylor Duryea's run and pinpoint left-foot kicking out of defence made him a valuable contributor.
The Hawks might have a concern, however, with defender Josh Gibson reported for charging Tiger Reece Conca late in the game.
Gibson collected the young Tiger in a marking contest
when attempting to spoil with only minutes remaining in the last term. Conca was floored and lay on the ground for up to 30 seconds but resumed play to take his free kick before heading to the interchange bench.
It was perhaps the only unexpected moment of a game that largely followed a predictable and drama-free script.
"We were pleased on a couple of fronts," Clarkson said.
"We were able to arrest Richmond's winning run against us which because that's caused a couple of problems the last time we've played them. We were also pleased that we were able to keep them to a low score.
"To keep them to seven goals for the day is a pretty good effort. They've got some pretty potent forwards, particularly [Dustin] Martin and [Jack] Riewoldt obviously, so we were pleased to keep them to a low score. "
The loss leaves the Tigers with only two wins from six rounds, and the tasks don't get any easier for Damien Hardwick's side with a clash against Geelong next week.
"You go from one really good team to another. We've just got to get our game up and going. At various stages tight we actually used the ball really well but at other stages we just made some poor blues," Hardwick said
"It's been characteristic of our season thus far. When we get ourselves into the game we just manage to shoot ourselves in the foot ... by making a schoolboy error.
"We're well short of where we need to be."
After kicking the opening three goals of the contest the Hawks were never headed, and advanced their margin at every break.
After a wasteful first quarter, it took until the third term for the damage to be done, when the Hawks piled on eight goals to one.
Rioli kicked a goal in the opening minute of that term, like Jack Gunston did in the first quarter and Hale in the second, and from there the Hawks sensed a percentage-boosting win.
The Tigers made sure the margin didn't grow too much in the fourth, and would have been particularly pleased with the efforts of Astbury, who won his battle with Roughead. The emerging defender kept last year's Coleman medallist to just one goal, while also collecting 18 disposals himself.
Jack Riewoldt tried hard in attack, while Brandon Ellis (32 disposals) and Shaun Grigg (28) worked hard through the flanks and midfield, but the Hawks simply knew what was required to get the win, and delivered.
If a measure of a great team is its ability to win a game comfortably when not at its best, the Hawks ticked that box in their 11-goal thrashing.
Shaun Burgoyne and Sam Mitchell depart their 250th games as winners. Picture: AFL Media
RICHMOND 2.0 3.1 4.6 7.10 (52)
HAWTHORN 4.7 6.9 14.10 18.10 (118)
Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Edwards, Martin, Jackson, Ellis, Petterd
Hawthorn: Rioli 4, Hale 2, Hodge 2, Breust 2, Gunston 2, Lewis, Puopolo, McEvoy, Roughead, Hill, Burgoyne
Richmond: Astbury, Ellis, Grigg, Jackson
Hawthorn: Rioli, Hodge, Mitchell, Duryea, Hill, McEvoy
Richmond: Sam Lloyd replaced by Matt McDonough in the third quarter
Hawthorn: Ben Stratton replaced by Jonathan Simpkin at three-quarter time.
Reports: Josh Gibson (Hawthorn) reported in the final term for charging Reece Conca (Richmond).
Umpires: Fisher, Rosebury, Hosking
Official crowd: 52,990 at the MCG