Hawthorn inflicted a savage dose of reality on West Coast in their AFL grand final rematch.
The injury-ravaged defending premiers responded magnificently from last week’s poor performance against Geelong to belt the Eagles by 46 points.
It was the same margin as the first weekend of last October, when Hawthorn won their third-straight flag.
The 14.15 (99) to 7.11 (53) scoreline flattered West Coast, who apart from a three-goal burst after quarter-time were never seriously in the contest.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson was brutally honest post-match, saying his team had regressed and still had much to learn.
“They outplayed us in every area of the game,” Simpson said.
“We just didn’t put ourselves in any position to compete – inside, outside, ball use.
“I thought our defenders actually did okay, considering the supply.
“They probably should have won by more.”
Hawthorn were missing captain Luke Hodge, key forward Jarryd Roughead, Liam Shiels and Brad Hill through injury.
But soon after Roughead unfurled the flags of the last three seasons in a pre-game ceremony for their first home match, Hawthorn showed they still have what it takes for an historic four-peat.
“We just butchered the ball – we’ll learn from it,” Simpson said.
“We’re still developing and obviously – clearly – we’re among many teams to compete for the top eight.
“Probably a dose of reality hit us today.”
Simpson did not mince his words, saying West Coast had regressed on Sunday.
He could not argue that the size of the MCG was a problem for the Eagles and there now could be mental scarring when they next play Hawthorn.
Last year’s club best and fairest winner Josh Gibson led the way for the Hawks with a career-high 44 possessions off half back and only the third goal of his career.
The same question was asked of Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson as it was of Simpson – did he see this coming?
Clarkson replied: “not on last week’s results, that’s for sure.
“We needed to respond well from last week’s loss … we knew we had to play some of our best footy.
“We’re pleased we were able to do that.
“In all three phases of play, whether it was when Hawthorn had the ball, West Coast had the ball or when it was in dispute, we thought we were strong.”