Suns crash back to earth

HAWTHORN showed its premiership class and brought the Gold Coast Suns back to earth with a crash by dominating their AFL clash at Aurora Stadium yesterday to win by 53 points.

The final margin would have been a lot more but for the Suns kicking the final four goals of the game to cut a 76-point deficit halfway through the last quarter to 53 at the final siren.

A nine-goal unanswered burst by the reigning premier from the 17-minute mark of the second quarter, when scores were level, saw Hawthorn blow the contest open. 

By the 17-minute mark of the third quarter the Hawks were in complete control, leading by 56 points and dominating the contest, as they handed the Suns a huge reality check of the difference in class between the two teams.

The scoreline told the story with 31 scoring shots to 13 as the Hawks outworked, outmuscled and outplayed the Suns in wet and miserable conditions.

Add to that an inside 50 count of 73-38, the hit-outs 65-31 and the contested possessions 174-149 - all in Hawthorn's favour as they ran out easy winners 17.14 (116) to 10.3 (63).

Hawthorn boasted a better spread of contested ball winners on the day, with captain Luke Hodge leading from the front as always with 26 possessions and three goals in another standout performance.

Vice-captain Jordan Lewis was just as impressive, picking up 28 touches and kicking two goals.

Goalsneak Luke Breust finished with three goals, and Jarryd Roughead, Grant Birchall and Isaac Smith kicked two each.

For the Suns, skipper Gary Ablett was their best player, having a game-high 45 disposals and finishing with two goals, while Tom Lynch also kicked two in the first quarter.

Hawks interim coach Brendon Bolton was happy with his team's performance in the trying conditions.

``It comes back to the effort and being able to take yards and win contested possessions, put your head over the footy, because wet and tough conditions make it a grind - but to the credit of our team I think we won the contested possessions by about 20 and I thought we were tough and hard today,'' he said.

``When you get on top you try to be ruthless and put scoreboard pressure on, and we didn't finish off as strong as we'd like, but overall a lot or our indicators around effort were a real positive.

``We won the contested possession count, which is a real indicator in AFL footy, but I would have thought we had five or six players in double figures for contested possession, and Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge were among them.

``Our leaders I've mentioned in the past few weeks have been standing up for us, and that's really important.''

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna said the Suns had too many passengers and had been handed a reality check by a better side.

``They were a lot cleaner around the contested situations, and at the 17-minute mark the scores were level just before half-time, and then before you knew it there was probably a lesson, a reality check to say `hey, we're one of the best sides in the competition and this is where we're at - and this is where you are at'.

``That will certainly be most of our review on Monday, and we'll probably turn the cameras off us and actually look at Hawthorn and what they do really well, and that's the level we have to get to.''

The only sour note in the Hawks' victory was the recurrence of a hamstring injury to exciting playmaker Cyril Rioli, who is likely to be sidelined for up to four weeks.

Launceston's Gold Coast recruit Kade Kolodjashnij had 12 disposals in defence, and Jesse Lonergan, who came on as sub in the third quarter, had 10.

Gary Ablett lies face-down as his Suns are overrun by the Hawks at Aurora Stadium yesterday. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Gary Ablett lies face-down as his Suns are overrun by the Hawks at Aurora Stadium yesterday. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

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