In-form Hawthorn has claimed its biggest scalp of the season, knocking off Greater Western Sydney by six points in a thriller in Launceston.

The Hawks, who have now won five of their past six games, broke a 79-79 deadlock courtesy of a Luke Breust goal from a downfield free kick with a minute to play.

Breust was awarded the shot after skipper James Sicily was bumped late by Giants midfielder Tom Green after kicking the ball.

The 12.13 (85) to 12.7 (79) result on Saturday afternoon came after Hawthorn trailed by 19 points at half-time and puts them just one win outside the top eight.

The lead changed hands several times throughout a dramatic fourth quarter after Hawthorn held a narrow three-point lead at the final break.

Xavier O'Halloran, who kicked a career-best four goals for the Giants, booted two in the last quarter before Jake Riccardi's first got the Giants in front with less than five minutes left.

Hawthorn overcame the loss of ruckman Ned Reeves, who was substituted off with a back problem early in the third term, while Giants captain Toby Greene suffered a nasty head cut early from a stray elbow and briefly came from the field but played on.

Mabior Chol was one of his side's best and provided the highlight of a dogged opening quarter when he converted a high-flying pack mark into a goal.

The Giants held a 13-9 lead at the first break on the back of a late Jesse Hogan major off a turnover.

They opened up 38-19 advantage at the main break courtesy of a run of three goals, with two of those coming off the boot of 20-year-old Aaron Cadman.

The No.1 pick in the 2022 draft, Cadman capitalised on some strong defensive pressure from the Giants before nailing a set shot.

Hawthorn rallied with a six-goal-to-two third quarter, including two for the term to veteran Jack Gunston.

Air Chol ready for take-off
Mabior Chol's athletic ability was on full display against the Giants, and his huge pack mark and subsequent goal in the opening term typified his incredible aerial prowess. Jai Newcombe bombed the ball to the top of the goalsquare, and it was Chol who launched to outmark all comers to pull in the Virgin Australia Mark of the Year contender. The high-flying Hawk finished the game with two goals and six marks, and even beat the near-unbeatable Sam Taylor in a one-on-one marking contest late in the game to set up another goal.

Inaccurate Hawks catch fire in the second half
For the most part, the first half was a relatively even contest even if it didn't show on the scoreboard. But with the Hawks failing to make the most of their chances going forward, they went into the main break trailing by 19 points and with a wayward 2.7 score on the board. But the rapidly-improving Hawks returned after the main break with a spark and energy that was absent to that point of the game, kicking seven of the next nine goals to set up their best victory of the season. They now find themselves only one game outside the top eight with finals now a very real possibility.

HAWTHORN                              1.3    2.7    8.9    12.13 (85) 
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    2.1    6.2    8.6    12.7 (79)

Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Breust 2, Chol 2, Macdonald 2, Dear, Jiath, Weddle
Greater Western Sydney:
 O'Halloran 4, Cadman 2, Angwin, Daniels, Greene, Hogan, Peatling, Riccardi

Hawthorn: Day, Weddle, Nash, Worpel, Moore, Scrimshaw
Greater Western Sydney:
 Whitfield, Briggs, Callaghan, O'Halloran, Peatling

Hawthorn: Reeves (back)
Greater Western Sydney: 

Hawthorn: Luke Breust (replaced Ned Reeves in the third quarter)
Greater Western Sydney: Toby McMullin (replaced Callum Brown at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 11,568 at UTAS Stadium