Gibson stars in Hawks’ big AFL win

Josh Gibson dined out on West Coast, equalling a Hawthorn record as they belted the Eagles in the AFL grand final rematch.

Gibson also kicked only his third senior goal – and his first for the Hawks – as they upset West Coast by 46 points on Sunday at the MCG.

He racked up 44 disposals with a textbook performance across halfback, joining four other Hawks who have had that many possessions in a match.

The most recent to get that much leather poisoning was injured captain Luke Hodge in last year’s big round-three win over the Western Bulldogs.

Sunday’s acting captain Jordan Lewis (2014), Anthony Condon (1991) and Terry Wallace (’83) are the others.

Gibson also had a good look at the scoreboard replay when he kicked his last-quarter goal.

It was his first goal in 127 games at the Hawks, following 65 games and two goals for North Melbourne.

“We (the coaches box) were pretty excited – I don’t think we were excited as Gibbo,” senior coach Alastair Clarkson joked.

“It’s been a long time coming, he’s had a couple of chances.

“He missed one from the top of the goalsquare a year or two back.

“I’m glad this one was on the run, it wasn’t a set shot.”

When asked about Gibson’s outstanding game, Clarkson pointed to the all-round Hawthorn performance.

The Hawks are very big on “one soldier out, another comes in” and Sunday was a triumph for their relentless, hard-nosed system of play.

“It was (his best game) in terms of stats, but we look at it as the collective defensive unit rather than any individual player,” Clarkson said.

“We controlled that very well.”

Gibson and fellow veterans such as Sam Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne led the response to last week’s disappointing round-one loss to Geelong.

Clarkson said Hawthorn deserved the criticism heaped on them in the wake of round one and the speculation about whether they were vulnerable.

“We didn’t play anywhere near the standard that we are capable of playing,” Clarkson said.

“We were pretty keen to make amends today.”

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