Hawthorn leaders stand tall

WHEN players of the class of Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis and Jarryd Roughead turn it on - more often than not Hawthorn will win.

West Coast's Jack Darling leaps for a mark in yesterday's loss to Hawthorn.

West Coast's Jack Darling leaps for a mark in yesterday's loss to Hawthorn.

The Hawks captain and his two vice-captains proved that yesterday with all three putting in outstanding performances to lead their side to a 19.9 (123) to 12.7 (79)  victory over the West Coast.

In a best-on-ground performance, Roughead finished with eight goals, 24 disposals, eight marks and six tackles in possibly his best-ever game at Aurora Stadium.

Hodge was also brilliant and not far behind with his usual tough, hard-at-the-contest approach picking up 28 disposals through the midfield, four marks, six tackles and six clearances.

Lewis was just as impressive racking up 29 touches, seven marks, six clearances and four tackles as the Hawks' cream rose to the top.

The Eagles came to play and showed plenty of intent to lead by six points after a four-goal to three opening quarter but Hawthorn's leaders stood up when it mattered in the second term.

With Roughead dominating up forward and booting four goals for the quarter, the Hawks banged on seven goals to three to grab the momentum.

In the third quarter the Hawks outran and outworked the Eagles and in a 20-minute period, in which Hodge, Lewis, Roughead, Shaun Burgoyne and Cyril Rioli dominated the contests, they booted six goals to one to blow the Eagles away and extend a 19-point, half-time lead to 48 points at the last change.

The Eagles persisted and won the final quarter on the scoreboard but never looked like bridging the deficit.

``I think it was a much improved effort from last week and obviously a lot of our leaders were a bit disappointed with their performance and we thought we lacked a bit of polish,'' Hawthorn acting coach Brendon Bolton said.

``We knew we needed an improved performance and it was pleasing that our three leaders on the ground  - Hodge, Lewis and Roughead - stood up and won the contested footy and they showed the way for the others. The big thing to come out of it is good leadership and it really helps.

``Roughead is a very proud person and wasn't happy with the way he played last week.

``[Today] he kicked eight goals but also laid some really good tackles so the mix of pressure and being able to score is really important for us but it just shows the character of the fellow.''

Hawks ruckman Luke Lowden made a memorable debut kicking three goals and battling hard against the Eagles combination of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

He was mobbed by teammates after kicking a goal in his first game following a six-year wait on Hawthorn's list.

Matt Spangher made a successful return to play a good game in defence as did Angus Litherland with Brad Hill, Rioli, Isaac Smith and Liam Shiels other good contributors for the Hawks.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson was pleased with his side's work rate but said basic skill errors and turnovers hurt them.

``We wanted intent and workrate when we came over and I thought we got that particularly in the first quarter,'' Simpson said.

``There were just some critical fumbles, coughing up the ball, dropping marks, the basic fundamentals and that's what we've been working on and will continue to work on.

``I thought their leaders stood up when the game was in the balance toward the end of the second quarter, you could clearly see they went up a level and we couldn't match it.''

Andrew Gaff kicked three goals to be one of the Eagles best along with Mark Hutchings, Jeremy McGovern and Luke Shuey.


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