Alastair Clarkson has hailed the versatility of his forward line after Cyril Rioli starred with six goals in Hawthorn’s 36-point win over Geelong.
Taller targets Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston chipped in with three goals between them but a four-goal bag to Luke Hodge and three majors to Luke Breust, along with Rioli’s haul, rounded out a productive evening at the MCG.
“We had to work really hard for our goals, kicking 19 goals you would think it was easy, but we had to work really hard,” Clarkson said.
“(But) it was pleasing that we got our goals in a different sort of way tonight than perhaps relying so much on Roughead and Gunston and these sorts of guys.”
With his typical mix of efficiency and flair, Rioli had four goals from just six kicks midway through the third term before adding another two in the last quarter.
Hodge did the heavy lifting in front of goal early with three majors as Hawthorn leapt out to a 31-point lead late in the first quarter.
The Hawks had their hands full with a rally that saw the margin slashed to just nine points midway through the third term before steadying to claim their fourth win on the trot against Geelong.
Joel Selwood and Cameron Guthrie were important for the Cats but Hawthorn had a greater spread of contributors with Sam Mitchell, Grant Birchall, Jordan Lewis and Liam Shiels among the best.
The Hawks’ 14th win of the season keeps them right in the fight to trump West Coast for a top-two spot but Clarkson said his players would not be distracted by the state of the premiership ladder.
“We can’t control that … if West Coast win their next four, they stay there,” he said.
“All we can control is what’s in put in front of us and that is Port Adelaide next week.
“We’re working really hard to build up the wins and hopefully there’s enough at the end of the year to have ourselves in the top two spots on the ladder.
“But if not, then we’ll just work our way through the finals series as best we can from whatever position we finish.”
Hawthorn escaped the match unscathed but Geelong lost Tom Lonergan to illness before the game and James Kelly to an ankle injury in the third quarter.