It wasn't pretty to start with, but the Hawks managed to pull off an upset of the ages for coach Alastair Clarkson's last game at UTAS Stadium, downing the second-placed Bulldogs 9.10 (64) to 5.6 (37).
Clarkson said he was pleased with how his team had performed these past weeks, winning three in a row since his departure was announced.
"After the effort from the players today, we're just so proud of the group," he said.
"There's a really nice balance of some senior and younger guys, so hopefully it showed our supporters back home and here at the ground at Launceston that there's a really exciting future for this club."
The Hawks were down two key pieces at short notice, with midfielders James Worpel (toe) and Jaeger O'Meara (knee) both scratched from the game.
Wayward kicking both inside 50 and in the midfield from both teams made for slow goings in the opening 15 minutes.
That was until the Dogs' Cody Weightman snapped the quarter's only goal thanks to some reckless roughhousing from Hawks back Sam Frost.
The 20-year-old blonde baller had a solid outing at UTAS, able to weave between Hawthorn's bigger bodies at the 50 and collect a nifty pair of goals.
This is the second time the Dogs have failed to secure a top-four finish, having lost to the Bombers by 13 points last week.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said the effort across the last two matches had been "disappointing".
"The expectations that we can play at our best - we didn't play anything like it," he said.
"In control of our own destiny, able to secure top four, and we missed an opportunity."
Both teams' midfields pieced together strong lanes as the game progressed, however those efforts continued to be for naught as entries were wasted on bullish defensive efforts.
The Hawks finally got on back in the second thanks to a stray soccering from full-forward Ben McEvoy.
Not long after, Hawks young-gun Lachlan Bramble booted one from 50, marking his first goal in the big leagues.
While the Hawks weren't playing perfectly, the side's forward line paced itself against an uncharacteristically sluggish second-placed Bulldogs side.
In his record-setting 48th game at UTAS, veteran Hawks defender Shaun Burgoyne was able to use his familiarity with the ground to his advantage, applying pressure early on to an already disjointed Doggies start.
As the second half got underway, a young Hawks team began to falter at half-back, allowing the Dogs to piece together a number of meaningful entries.
Three consecutive goals from the Dogs were answered by three from the Hawks, getting the breezy crowd up off their seats.
The Hawks showed maturity in the final term, upping the pressure around the centre.
This was led by mids Jai Newcombe (11 tackles) and Dan Howe (34 disposals), who hunted down the Dogs across both flanks and forced them to make mistake after mistake.
"He [Howe] had a really strong game, he's had a pretty strong season for us," Clarkson said.
"He's up against some pretty handy players for the Western Bulldogs side - [Adam] Treloar, [Lachie] Hunter - theses sort of guys going through their wings on a regular basis.
"His work on both sides of the ball really strong and it's no surprise he's played a pretty important role for us."
Six-foot-four Hawks half-forward Mitch Lewis came in handy here, using his height to disrupt Doggy lanes and steal contested marks.
At the end of the game, the crowd joined in applause to thank Clarkson for the many years and memories he's helped create during his tenure.
Signs held by the crowd also thanked Burgoyne, who's expected to retire after 19 seasons with the Hawks and Port Adelaide.
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