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Match report: R10

R10: Gunston on fire Jack Gunston produces an absolutely brilliant deft touch to score a special goal.

A BRILLIANT six-goal haul from Jack Gunston has helped the Hawks to a 31-point win over fellow finals aspirant Port Adelaide at University of Tasmania Stadium on Saturday.

Gunston, who had tallied just 10 goals in his previous nine outings this season, defied the difficult conditions to explode back into form and prove the only multiple goalkicker in the match.

With young Hawks forward Mitch Lewis a late withdrawal, Gunston more than filled the breach and was a constant threat forward of centre, producing his first six-goal bag in almost four years in the 12.8 (80) to 6.13 (49) victory. 

Compounding matters for the Power, prolific midfielder Tom Rockliff left the field in the third term with a left hamstring injury and didn't reappear.

The Hawks weren't without their own concerns, though, with defender Jack Scrimshaw hurting his left knee in the third quarter.

Hawthorn wingman Rocky Henderson continued his strong form, amassing a game-high and career-high 37 possessions, nine more than the next-best effort of 28 by Power defender Matthew Broadbent.

A critical element of the Hawks' victory was their effort to win the ruck battle despite being without their gun big man Ben McEvoy. In his absence, Jonathon Ceglar and late inclusion Marc Pittonet provided great drive against the experienced Paddy Ryder and his back-up, debutant Peter Ladhams. 

Another crucial factor was Port Adelaide's elementary skill errors, which proved costly at key times. 

The Hawks started with the aid of a two or three-goal breeze and, after a tense opening between two of the AFL's top three pressure teams, Alastair Clarkson's men broke free in the latter part of the first quarter with four goals, two of them from a lively Gunston. 

Power coach Ken Hinkley delivered a withering quarter-time spray to his charges but it didn't have immediate results, with Gunston snapping his third major early in the second term to stretch the margin to 32 points, courtesy of a 5.2 to 0.0 scoreline. 

Port didn't score until midway through the second quarter, courtesy of a running shot from Ladhams which just missed.

Moments later, Power prodigy Connor Rozee finally put through the Power's first major after running onto a handball from Billy Frampton. 

Hawthorn took a 23-point lead into the long interval after restricting Port to its lowest half-time total of the season, 2.3 (15). 

The Hawks dominated play early in the third term but didn't capitalise, only for the Power to sweep forward and Rozee to hand off to Karl Amon for a nice running goal to reduce the margin to just 18 points.

Hawthorn twice established five-goal leads but Port refused to go away, lifting its intensity markedly in the latter part of the third term. 

A magical soccer-style effort by Gunston with the outside of his right foot was one of the highlights of the contest.

The Power came home with the breeze but failed to make any inroads in the now slippery conditions with Gunston adding two more goals to equal Port Adelaide's team tally.

Hawthorn recruit Chad Wingard, who returned from a hamstring injury, enjoyed a solid first-up effort in his first game against his former club. 

Evergreen Hawk Shaun Burgoyne notched his 364th game, lifting him into the top 10 on the all-time games list, and the veteran affectionately known as 'Silk' wasn't as prominent as usual but was still a contributor. 

Since 2010 the Hawks have now won 33 of their past 37 games at their Launceston stronghold.

Meanwhile, the Power is perhaps in a slump. After winning four of their opening six games, they have won just one of their past four.

Hawthorn: Promising defender Jack Scrimshaw left the field and went down into the rooms for treatment on his left knee in third term and didn't return to the fray.
Port Adelaide: Midfielder Tom Rockliff suffered a left hamstring injury in the third term and was done for the day.

Hawthorn travels to the Gabba to face former skipper Luke Hodge and Brisbane in a Saturday night clash, while Port Adelaide will be on the road again, taking on St Kilda at Marvel Stadium in a Sunday afternoon fixture.

HAWTHORN            4.1     6.2     9.5     12.8     (80)                  
PORT ADELAIDE     0.0     2.3     5.7     6.13     (49)          

Hawthorn: Gunston 6, Cousins, Worpel, Shiels, Scully, Impey, Puopolo
Port Adelaide: Rozee, Duursma, Amon, Powell-Pepper, R.Gray, Ladhams 

Hawthorn: Gunston, Henderson, Sicily, Shiels, Worpel, Scully
Port Adelaide: R.Gray, Boak, Byrne-Jones, Houston, Rockliff, Duursma 

Hawthorn: Scrimshaw (knee), Lewis (concussion) replaced in selected side by Pittonet
Port Adelaide: Rockliff (hamstring) 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Mitchell, Whetton, Mollison

Official crowd: 11,637 at University of Tasmania Stadium


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs