The MCG has become Hawks’ AFL finals home

Hawthorn must doubly defy AFL history in the next three weeks if they are to add a fourth premiership to their latest golden era.

Friday night’s qualifying final loss to West Coast ensures they will have to win three knockout matches in a row if they are to claim a record third-straight flag.

The last team to lose a qualifying final and win the premiership was the Eagles in 2006.

But Hawthorn’s own history since they started returning to power in 2007 also highlights the huge hurdles they must overcome.

The Hawks have played 19 finals under master coach Alastair Clarkson and a whopping 16 of them have been at the MCG.

In that time they have lost their only two finals in Perth.

If they win Friday night’s semi against Adelaide, who are riding an emotional wave, Hawthorn will have to return to the west and find a way past Fremantle at Domain Stadium to book a spot in the premiership decider.

The Hawks returned to September for the first time in six years with the famous 2007 elimination final against Adelaide.

It was played at Etihad Stadium and remains the only final that a Clarkson-coached team has won away from the MCG.

Lance Franklin kicked a booming goal with seven seconds left to down the Crows by three points.

Since then, the cards usually have fallen Hawthorn’s way when it’s come to their finals venue.

The only exception was 2010, when they lost their elimination final to Fremantle at Subiaco by 30 points.

Even when they lost the qualifying final to arch-rivals Geelong in 2011, they hosted Sydney the following week and had the preliminary final against Collingwood at their home ground.

The Magpies broke Hawthorn’s hearts, winning that MCG game by three points on the way to the premiership.

For the next three years, Hawthorn controlled their own venue destiny, finishing first or second in the regular season to secure a home qualifying final.

And their only post-season loss in those three seasons was in the classic 2012 grand final against Sydney.

As their coach pointed out after the West Coast loss, Hawthorn had won the previous six finals.

All of them were at the MCG.

But if they are to win three more this season, it would be the greatest triumph yet of the Clarkson era.

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