Hawthorn showed why they’ve been the dominant team in football over the past two months with a 96-point thrashing of Essendon on Friday night.
Captain Luke Hodge returned in impressive fashion to help the Hawks take an early lead atop the premiership ladder, almost 13 percentage points ahead of the yet to play Sydney Swans.
Hodge kicked a bag of five goals in just his third game of 2012 before leaving as the sub at the end of the third quarter- a precautionary measure. Defender Matt Suckling surprised with four goals- all off them coming off long bombs from his deadly left foot. Gunston, Roughead and Young piled on three each while four other Hawks bagged multiple goals, showing that they can still score despite the injured Buddy Franklin sitting up in the stands.
Sam Mitchell was a standout with 29 possessions and Cyril Rioli was also magnificent with two goals and nine clearances, threatening to do something spectacular each time he neared the ball.
The game was essentially over midway through the first as the Hawks kicked the opening eight goals only to have Essendon respond with a single measly reply in the dying moments of the opening stanza.
Looking to boost their percentage, they piled on a further six majors in the second as the Bombers struggled to kick four of their own.
The only real consolidation for Bombers fans was the play of Jobe Watson and Scott Gumbleton. Watson played his heart out to the tune of 37 possessions on 84% efficiency and nine clearances. Attempting to overcome years of frustrating injuries, Gumbleton got better as the game progessed and ended with four goals. He clearly has a unique body and talent, and appears to be finally carving out a nice niche up forward.
The Bombers could potentially fall to seventh spot depending on the result of the Geelong game Saturday and their task doesn’t get any easier when they travel to Adelaide next week to take on the Crows.
Supercoach top performers:
Brendan Whitecross 139
Cyril Rioli 134
Jobe Watson 120
Jack Gunston 117
Matt Suckling 110