Third straight AFL flag for Hawthorn

In the hottest AFL grand final on record, the Hawks sizzled and the Eagles melted.

With Cyril Rioli running rampant, the greatest club of the modern era triumphed 16.11 (107) to 8.13 (61) to claim a third straight premiership for the first time in their storied history.

And who’s to say they won’t be back at the MCG in late September next year looking to match the fabled Collingwood “machine” team of 1927-30 by winning four flags on the trot.

Skipper Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Rioli were among half a dozen Hawks to win a fourth flag with the club, while the ageless Shaun Burgoyne also claimed his fourth – including one at Port Adelaide back in 2004.

Rioli was a hugely popular winner of the Norm Smith Medal as the best player afield, an honour also bestowed on his late uncle Maurice Rioli at Richmond back in 1982.

With the mercury reaching 31.3 degrees at 3.28pm it was officially the hottest day ever for an AFL decider.

Conventional wisdom suggested that would favour the younger Eagles, who had earned a week off earlier in the playoffs after convincingly beating the Hawks in a qualifying final.

Conventional wisdom turned out to be a load of rubbish as Hawthorn became the oldest premiership team ever with a 46-point triumph – a margin that flattered the winged Eagles.

Before a crowd of 98,633, the Hawks had the game all but shot to bits midway through the second quarter when Isaac Smith’s brilliant long bomb put them more than seven goals clear.

An Eagles team including only three players with previous grand final experience showed some fight to kick the last two goals of the second quarter, including a clutch effort from Elliott Yeo after the halftime siren.

But it proved to be very much a false dawn.

Dreadful errors by Luke Shuey and Jack Darling early in the third term when the Eagles were enjoying a rare spell of dominance signalled the end for West Coast, as the Hawks kicked the last five goals of the quarter.

Star ruckman Nic Naitanui and 2014 Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis were two of many Eagles to have dirty days on the grand stage.

The only two Hawthorn players to receive a first premiership medal – James Frawley and Ryan Schoenmakers – played key roles in the victory.

In his first year as a Hawk after crossing from Melbourne, Frawley kept Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy scoreless for only the second time in his 142 games as an Eagle.

Schoenmakers vindicated the faith of coach Alastair Clarkson, who kept him in the side despite the return from injury of fellow tall forward Jack Gunston.

The victory was another triumph for Clarkson, who won a record fourth flag as Hawthorn coach – one more than club icons John Kennedy senior and Allan Jeans.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!