Hawthorn Wins The 2014 AFL Grand Final – And They Were Simply Awesome

The don’t come much better than Hawthorn today. Photo: Quinn Rooney/ Getty Images

Hawthorn 21.11 137
Sydney 11.8 74

The Hawthorn Hawks have won back-to-back titles, demolishing the Sydney Swans 137-74 at the MCG in front of 99,454 fans to claim the 2014 AFL grand final.

The Swans went into the game as favourites, but four quarters later were humiliated by 63 points – the biggest win over minor premiers in AFL history – as the Hawks avenged their 2012 grand final loss to Sydney in emphatic style.

It’s a golden – and brown – age for the Hawks, who’ve now played in four grand finals and won three over the last seven years, adding 2014 to the 2013 and 2008 premiership cups.

Everything went right for Hawthorn, who at times looked like they had twice as many players as Sydney on the MCG. They were clinical and relentless. The Swans seemed from rattled from the start. The tackling Sydney built its reputation and victories on deserted them.

Fittingly, the Norm Smith Medal for best player in the grand final went to Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge, playing his 250th game for the club. It’s Hodge’s second. He also kicked 2 goals

Hawks veteran Cyril Rioli, in his first game in 12 weeks following a hamstring injury, shed a tear when was subbed out late in the game, but he started the match and played a quintessential role in dismantling the Swans, humbling his midfield opponents. Rioli was a gamble that paid off in spades.

Jarryd Roughead was lethal in the forwards, the ball finding him like iron filings to his magnet, to land 5 goals, ably assisted by Luke Breust and Will Langford with 3 each. Shaun Burgoyne and Jack Gunston joined Hodge to land a brace each, and the love was shared around, with goals to Matt Suckling, Bradley Hill, David Hale and Paul Puopolo. You could hold your breath in the moments between the ball being in Hawthorn’s forward 50 without fear of passing out.

The Hawks niggled their former star, Lance “Buddy” Franklin, early on in a highly physical game and it worked. Franklin kicked four goals, but was rarely seen.

Adam Goodes was one of the few bright spots for the Swans, trying time and again to lift his side to no avail and landing 2 goals. If the Australian of the year does retire, Goodes will be remembered for the courage and stamina shown in his final game.

Kieran Jack was the only other Swan to nab 2. Hawks defender Brian Lake silenced Kurt Tippett, who only land 1 goal and ended up looking for work in the midfield instead.

Hawthorn’s Cyril Rioli flies above the pack in his first game in 3 months. Photo: Getty

The contrast between the two sides was stark. Hawthorn played like everyone had Google glasses on, knowing exactly where their teammates were – and most times there were 4 Hawks around a single Swan. Their precision and the support in tight situations was astonishing. The Swans were MIA. Simple hand passes failed to find a recipient, kicks went to noone. Sydney were rushed and they crumbled. They looked sluggish and had no answer to Hawks midfielders Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, who alongside Hodge, set the tone. It was a masterclass in great footy all over the paddock. The Hawks found space, the Swans found themselves caught in tackles.

Sydney kicked the first goal. It was the only time they enjoyed the lead.

Two moments summed up Sydney’s day. Early in the first quarter, Swan Lewis Jetta had his opponent corralled, but didn’t move in for the kill. He escaped, the Hawks scored. The Swans seemed reluctant to commit. By half time, the team, which normally finishes with triple figures on the tackle front had managed just 16. Hawthorn out-tackled them 63-60 in the end.

A second moment was symbolic of how hapless the red and white were: Gary Rohan, tireless but unable to stem the tide, was on the burst through the centre midway through the final quarter. He attempted to bounce and regather the ball, but made a hash of it. The Swans should have scored. They didn’t. The Hawks repelled the pretenders once again.

Nick Malceski was probably the best for the Swans, but as the last line of defence, he was all-too-constantly in the limelight. Ted Richards was also solid in the backline, but too often the Swans struggled to get the ball out of their 50, the Hawks pounced and the turnover handed them another six points. Heath Grundy’s fortunes were mixed, but at least the trio saved their team from further disgrace.

In the end Sydney looked as shellshocked as their supporters; Hawthorn, as ecstatic as theirs. Even in the final quarter, rather than coasting to victory, Hawthorn plunged the blade deeper into the Swans, proving the Hawks are one of the greatest teams of the modern era.

They deserved this victory and showed everyone why.

Swan Mike Pyke handballs as Hawk Josh Gibson tackles him on the way to Hawthorn’s grand final win. Photo Quinn Rooney/Getty.