It wasn’t a classical spray but Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson’s halftime address on Saturday will rank among his most effective.
The Hawks booted 8.7 to 0.2 in the third term at Launceston, setting the platform for a 41-point AFL win over Fremantle. The Dockers, eventually beaten 17.14 (116) to 11.9 (75), had boasted a two-point lead at the major break.
Challenged by Clarkson to adapt to local conditions, the triple reigning premiers steadied in style at the windswept Aurora Stadium.
“We certainly needed to lift from the first half. That was made pretty clear (by Clarkson),” Hawks ruckman Ben McEvoy told AAP.
“Conditions were tough but both teams at times didn’t play to the conditions … the third quarter was better.
“Will Langford really stood up in the third quarter, Liam Shiels was really good with his tackling pressure.
“Everyone lifted a little bit.”
Clarkson, speaking to reporters, noted his charges needed to be smarter with the Sherrin in hand.
“We just weren’t using the ball as well as we’d like,” the four-time premiership coach said of the first term, when the Hawks had the breeze.
“We overused the ball a little bit too much.
“It was a tough old grind.”
Clarkson was thrilled his side had 11 different goal-kickers, led by Jack Gunston and Luke Breust who kicked three goals each.
“It’s difficult for a team to defend against when so many guys are hitting the scoreboard,” he said.
“Early in the season we weren’t able to get that but the last couple of weeks we’ve had a much greater spread, which is good.”
Hawthorn are sitting pretty with a 6-2 record despite some indifferent form this year.
The result extended the Hawks’ winning streak at their adopted home venue to 17 games.
Fremantle have now lost nine games in a row, dating back to the 27-point defeat inflicted by Hawthorn in the 2015 finals.
Dockers coach Ross Lyon lamented his team’s third quarter performance on Saturday, the low point of which came when they were unable to find a target with consecutive kick-ins.
“They dominated the third, you’ve got to give them credit,” Lyon said of Hawthorn.
“We really thought, sitting there at halftime – if we get the third quarter right we can really win this game.
“But we didn’t get the third quarter right, it was really disappointing.
“We don’t like losing. It’s turning, it’s turning slowly.”
Hawks young gun Taylor Duryea will be sweating on the findings of the match review panel, having floored Hayden Ballantyne in the second term.
Duryea smacked Ballantyne on the jaw, throwing an elbow backwards when the umpire was about to restart play.