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Match report: Round 7

Ben Collins  May 7, 2017 6:43 PM

R7: Burgoyne from the boundary line Shaun Burgoyne delivered the Hawks a goal in the third quarter from the tightest of angles.

HAWTHORN has turned back the clock to upset finals aspirant Melbourne by three points in a nail-biter at the MCG on Sunday.

The Hawks were at their precision-kicking, miserly best early, building a 35-point lead early in the third quarter before bravely staving off a late Demon charge to hand former teammate Jordan Lewis a disappointing first up loss against his old club, winning 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91).

Lewis performed strongly with 31 possessions and slotted his second goal with just 55 seconds left but Hawthorn managed to stand firm in defence in the final frantic moments.

Hawthorn's second win of the season, in front of a crowd of 38,693, has drawn it to within a game of the 3-4 Demons, who once again blew a golden opportunity to strengthen their position in the top eight.

It was a vastly improved performance by Alastair Clarkson's men, who'd lost three of their previous four games by at least 75 points.

The effort was all the more meritorious given they were one short for the last three quarters with star defender Grant Birchall, in his first game back from a broken jaw, suffering a suspected posterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee.

The Hawks had also lost midfielder Jaeger O'Meara before the match through knee soreness. 

Read: Hawks make late change

O'Meara's replacement, premiership runner Will Langford, provided one of the game's highlights when he dribbled a left-footer through for a goal from the boundary in the second term – a cameo that gave Hawthorn seven of the opening nine goals and a lead of 34 points.

The Hawks stretched their advantage to a game-high 35 points just after half time when skipper Jarryd Roughead nailed the second of his four goals.

The Demons, who'd been handball-crazy and error-riddled to that point, finally kicked into gear, with seven of the next nine goals to slash the margin to one point by three-quarter time.

Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones leveled the scores eight minutes into the final term when he hit the post with a shot from 40 metres.

But that's as far as the Demons progressed – they never led at any stage – as Hawthorn steadied with goals to Roughead and Isaac Smith to establish a 14-point lead.

Melbourne refused to lie down and consecutive goals to returning key forward Jesse Hogan (three goals) and Lewis gave it a chance but the Demons were unable to conjure a match-winning major in the dying seconds.

Hawthorn had a major advantage in the ruck with Ben McEvoy (53 hit-outs and two goals) dominating the Demons' makeshift crew of Cameron Pedersen, Tom McDonald and Jack Watts.

Evergreen Hawks Luke Hodge and Shaun Burgoyne martialled their troops superbly while Tom Mitchell (31 possessions) continued his prolific ways.

Young forwards Tim O'Brien and James Sicily provided terrific support to Roughead.

After half time Demons coach Simon Goodwin threw defender Jayden Hunt forward and he slotted two goals in an inspired third term.

Melbourne co-skipper Jack Viney was a warrior with 33 possessions, and was a key factor in his team's revival.

MELBOURNE   1.1    4.2    11.6  14.7 (91)
HAWTHORN    5.4    8.7    11.7  14.10 (94)

GOALS

Melbourne: Garlett 3, Hogan 3, Hunt 2, Lewis 2, Pedersen, Viney, Jones, Watts
Hawthorn: Roughead 4, McEvoy 2, Gunston 2, O'Brien 2, Breust, Langford, Burgoyne, Smith

BEST

Melbourne: Viney, Lewis, Frost, Oliver, Jones, Hibberd, Hogan
Hawthorn: McEvoy, Burgoyne, Roughead, Mitchell, Langford, O'Brien, Hardwick,

INJURIES

Melbourne: Hunt (left shoulder)
Hawthorn: Jaeger O'Meara (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Will Langford, Birchall (right knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Kamolins, Ryan, Jeffery

Official crowd: 38,693 at the MCG