Hawthorn have withstood a fierce challenge to maintain their decade-long AFL winning streak over Melbourne.
The Hawks broke clear in the last quarter to beat Melbourne by 18 points on Saturday at the MCG.
The 11.16 (82) to 10.4 (64) result in gloomy, wet conditions was the Hawks’ 13th-straight win over the Demons, extending back to 2006.
After a grinding, entertaining battle, Hawthorn broke the deadlock with the only three goals of the last quarter.
Hawks star Cyril Rioli laid nine last-term tackles to play a pivotal role.
Hawthorn won the tackles 106 to 68, a crucial statistic given the wet conditions.
Demons onballer Jack Trengove made a successful return from more than two seasons out of the game through injury.
Sam Mitchell and Josh Gibson, in his 200th match, also starred for the Hawks, while Dom Tyson and Bernie Vince were best for Melbourne.
There were plenty of spotfires and Vince was booked for striking in the last quarter, but the match review panel will probably throw out the charge.
Melbourne made a strong start, putting the Hawks under immediate pressure.
After nine minutes of grinding play, they kicked two goals in as many minutes.
But that only sparked the three-time reigning premiers into action.
With Mitchell, Gibson and Jack Gunston prominent, the Hawks kicked away for a game-high lead of 23 points early in the second term.
It looked like the same old story for Hawthorn v Melbourne.
Then it was the Demons’ turn to rally and they kicked five of the next six goals for a one-point lead at the main break.
Hawthorn star Isaac Smith, usually so precise with his kicking, highlighted their woes in the third term when he made an elementary turnover.
Melbourne pounced and captain Nathan Jones kicked a goal to give them a nine-point lead.
But the Hawks again fought back to level the scores at the last change.