Hawks soar to top and silence doubters

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AFL: Sam Mitchell has voiced his opinion to the umpire that Gary Ablett might have received a free kick, just because he is Gary Ablett.

James Sicily’s Hawthorn defeated the Gold Coast Suns.

THEY were written off, these Hawks.

After a trio of plucky wins and a thumping at the hands of Greater Western Sydney the football world dared to question whether the golden era had reached its expiration date.

Captain Luke Hodge was wounded, spearhead Jarryd Roughead was absent and contested-ball hammerings were constant.

Well, take a look at the ladder. The doubters best do so sitting down, because Hawthorn tops it.

It stands 11-3, capitalising on Geelong’s stumble and Sydney’s bye to head the pack in the most intriguing season in some time.

Yes, the Hawks will head to their week off with the best record of any club and a pile of upside in the run to September.

Sunday night’s win against Gold Coast wasn’t glittered with highlights, but the Hawks had the maturity needed to push aside a determined Suns.

Gary Ablett had 40 disposals.Source:AAP

They morphed a 21-point lead into a 26-point win on the back of yet another Sam Mitchell midfield masterclass and another shining performance from James Sicily.

The young forward kicked three goals, all at critical moments. Again, it included the sealer.

And with the Suns threatening to swell their lead beyond four goals, young wingman Billy Hartung snapped two second-quarter goals on his right foot.

And with personal doubters of his own, Hodge accumulated 28 disposals.

The best was a 50m pass to a running Hartung in a clear sign his penetration remains as lethal as ever.

There were plenty of positives as Hawthorn iced its 18th consecutive win south of the mainland in icy conditions.

In front of Hawthorn’s smallest ever Launceston crowd, they ensured Gary Ablett’s return to his Brownlow-winning best would be in vain.

For the first time since his career-changing shoulder injury Gaz had 40, but also had too few mates in the middle.

You knew the Suns were on when Ablett produced a magical goal in the first term.

The superstar veteran shrugged a Josh Gibson tackle and then sidestepped Jordan Lewis to spark his side in a mighty first quarter.

Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston kicked one goal.Source:Getty Images

There was again frustration for Suns coach Rodney Eade. His side failed to kick a goal in the third quarter and while they held on desperately in defence, Tom Lynch, Sam Day and Ryan Davis should have nailed their set-shots.

Jon Ceglar struck a set-shot blow to retrieve the lead and when a smart Mitchell soccer kick finally brought Luke Breust into the game, the Hawks led by 11.

If Lynch wasn’t already considered the No. 1 young forward in the league, he surely is now.

The Sorrento spearhead who is destined to succeed Ablett as captain took his fifth contested mark on in the opening minute of the second quarter.

With Josh Gibson, James Frawley and Jon Ceglar to contend with, Lynch threw his hands up and the ball stuck like velcro on the goalline.

The resulting goal put Gold Coast 21 points clear and his next snag brought them within two kicks in the final quarter.

The Suns teased, but never threatened. Their entries were poor and Hawthorn’s were poised.

Still, the Suns loom as a dangerous side in the run home.

But nobody is as at home in the finals as these Hawks.

AFL: Hawks coach Alistair Clarkson talks to the media following a win over the Suns.

AFL: Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade talks to the media following a loss to Hawthorn.

HAWTHORN 2.1 6.4 8.10 12.14 (86)

GOLD COAST 4.4 6.5 6.8 8.12 (60)

GOALS

Hawthorn: Sicily 3, Hartung 2, Hill, Ceglar, Gunston, Lewis, Breust, Burgoyne, Duryea

Gold Coast: Lynch 3, Matera, Ablett, Harbrow, Wright, Day

BEST

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Birchall, Hodge, Lewis, Gibson, Sicily, Hartung

Gold Coast: Ablett, Lynch, Harbrow, Nicholls, Wright, Sexton, May

VOTES

3. Gary Ablett (GC)

2. Sam Mitchell (Haw)

1. Grant Birchall (Haw)

Umpires: Troy Pannell, Simon Meredith, Sam Hay, Jordan Bannister

Official Crowd: 10,121 at Aurora Stadium

Author Bio

Alonesports

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