Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley admitted his AFL team was out-willed by Hawthorn as Hawks skipper Luke Hodge’s appetite for the contest chewed up and spat out the Magpies at the MCG on Sunday.
Hodge turned back the clock and dragged his team through the time machine with him in a ruthless 55-point victory in the battle of the premiership heavyweights.
The Hawks ran out 22.13 (145) to 13.12 (90) winners.
Hodge was inspirational with 31 possessions – 17 of them contested – and two goals.
Turning 29 this season, Hodge was pivotal when the contest was up for grabs in the second and third terms, before the Hawks steamrolled the Magpies in the final quarter, kicking six of the last seven goals for a blowout.
Buckley admitted his side was schooled by a rougher, tougher Hawks outfit.
“It was their (Hawthorn’s) will,” Buckley said of what turned the match around after Collingwood started well and led by 22 points in the second quarter.
“As the game wore on, they were tougher, more physical, were able to get handballs out of our tackles and stop us doing the same.
“When you’re coming up against good sides, you need to be right all the time.
“You can’t afford to give even an inch to these good sides. We did.”
Hodge, in just his second match of the season after battling injury problems last year and during the pre-season, swung the match with his hunger for the contested ball.
Ten touches in each of the second and third terms, and a vital goal in a second quarter stretch in which the Hawks rolled back the lead to a point by halftime, were critical.
The teams traded goals and grunt for most of the third term – Hawthorn opening up a three-goal lead before Collingwood closed to within six points.
The Hawks then booted the final three goals of the quarter – Luke Breust kicking a critical major on the three-quarter time siren for Hawthorn to open up a 24-point lead.
Franklin then put it beyond doubt with his fourth goal early in the final term – though the best of his haul was a third term coast-to-coast gem in which he hurdled a fallen opponent in the centre-square to goal on the run.
Breust, Jarryd Roughead and Shaun Burgoyne all booted three goals.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson paid tribute to Hodge’s efforts, and his team’s ability to run out the match so convincingly.
“We hadn’t played anywhere near our best footy in the first half, so to be so close (at halftime) was an advantage for us,” Clarkson said.
Collingwood forward Travis Cloke booted five goals, while midfielder Scott Pendlebury was the Pies’ best.
The contentious new sliding rule also claimed a victim, with Collingwood wingman Harry O’Brien reported for rough conduct on Hodge in the second term.
With Hodge going to ground, many believed O’Brien should have actually received a free-kick rather than being reported – the match review panel’s ruling on Monday to set an important precedent.
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