HAWTHORN has continued its strong early-season form, beating an undermanned Fremantle on Saturday by 42 points.
Midfielder Shaun Burgoyne and defender Grant Birchall were outstanding as the Hawks made the most of a strong first term, winning 18.10 (118) to 11.10 (76) to stand at 3-1 for the season.
Key forwards Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead kicked four goals apiece in a poorly-attended Launceston match.
Hawthorn lost key defender Ryan Schoenmakers with a serious-looking knee injury in the second term. Schoenmakers hyper-extended his right knee on the wing and was helped from the field.
A few minutes later, Fremantle surprisingly subbed Nick Suban out of the game.
Suban only had two disposals and coach Ross Lyon was brutally honest about the reason for the early substitution.
"There's nothing wrong with him - we just thought he hasn't touched it," Lyon told Channel Seven.
Lachie Neale, who came on for Suban, was lively and kicked a goal.
After Fremantle had the play bottled up in their forward 50m for the opening five minutes, Hawthorn had a four-goal burst in seven minutes.
The Hawks kicked another just before quarter-time for a 30-point lead but Fremantle hit back with their first goal in the opening minute of the second term.
The Dockers improved noticeably at the stoppages and there was no change in the margin at half-time.
After losing the clearances 16-7 in the first term, Fremantle were ahead 21-17 at the long break.
Acting captain David Mundy and Nathan Fyfe were prominent in the Dockers' fightback.
Hawthorn extended the margin to 44 points midway through the third term, but the Dockers kicked the last two goals of the quarter to keep the margin at a manageable 28 points.
After only kicking two behinds in the first term, Fremantle rallied and were only 17 points down early in the final term.
But the Hawks kicked the last four goals of the game.
The game only attracted 12,619 fans - the lowest for a Hawthorn home game and the second-lowest AFL crowd at Aurora Stadium.
Fremantle also suffered a pre-game blow when Luke McPharlin was ruled out.
He did not recover in time from Paddy Ryder's heavy hit last weekend, an incident that earnt the Essendon ruckman a three-game suspension.
That meant the Dockers were without McPharlin, captain Matthew Pavlich (achilles) and ruckman Aaron Sandilands.
They represent 677 AFL games between them and the Dockers' top three players.
HAWTHORN 5.2 10.4 13.6 18.10 (118)
FREMANTLE 0.2 5.4 8.8 11.10 (76)
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Roughead 4, Rioli 3, Burgoyne 2, Breust 2, Birchall, Lewis, Franklin
Fremantle: Bradley 3, Mayne 2, Mundy, Sutcliffe, Crowley, Mayne, Walters, Neale
Hawthorn: Burgoyne, Rioli, Birchall, Mitchell, Stratton, Bailey, Franklin
Fremantle: Fyfe, Barlow, Mundy, Mayne, Walters, Bradley
Hawthorn: Guerra (soreness) replaced in selected side by Savage, Schoenmakers (knee)
Fremantle: McPharlin (concussion) replaced in selected side by Smith
Hawthorn: Shane Savage replaced Ryan Schoenmakers (knee) during the second quarter
Fremantle: Lachie Neale replaced Nick Suban (tactical) during the second quarter
Umpires: Nicholls, Wenn, Foot
Official crowd: 12,619 at Aurora Stadium
A small for a tall
Lachie Neale has been selected to replace injured captain Matthew Pavlich for Saturday’s match against Hawthorn in Launceston, while defensive lynchpin Luke McPharlin has been passed fit to play.
Pavlich will undergo surgery on his left Achilles and miss four to six weeks of football.
The travelling emergencies for the Aurora Stadium fixture were Hayden Crozier, Jack Hannath and Tanner Smith.
Freo chose to replace key forward Pavlich with the smaller Neale, who played 11 games in his debut 2012 season.
That included a good performance against the Hawks in Tasmania in which the 19-year-old South Australian won a Goal of the Year nomination.
Assistant coach Peter Sumich said Freo looked to mix up its forward line set-up by going a small for a tall.
He added that the side had other options should tall timber be required up front.
“We’ve got three tall backs and we know McPharlin can go forward, as well as Zac Dawson, who’s done that once or twice,” Sumich said.
“And Johnno’s (Michael Johnson) been a forward in the past four or five years.”
Sumich said Pavlich’s absence offered the side another opportunity to learn to play without him.
The team could take great confidence from its round 22 demolition of North Melbourne last year, when it kicked 20 goals without the skipper.
“That’s the way it’s going to be,” Sumich said.
“We’ve got to play some good footy without him, and then when he comes back, play some good footy with him, but make sure we take some pressure off him.”
McPharlin, who trained strongly on Thursday, had been subject to a fitness test.
The 2012 All Australian defender was in doubt because of a high knock that saw him subbed out of last Friday night’s match against Essendon
Sumich said his availability was very important to the side.
“I’ve got no doubt if he had played the full game last week, we would have been a very good chance to win that,” Sumich said.
“He looks good and hopefully he can do well on Saturday.”
Hawthorn, which beat Freo by 56 points in Launceston last year, has kicked 45 goals in its past two matches.
McPharlin’s presence will be crucial to combat the scoring power in the Hawks’ arsenal, led by the brilliant Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin.
| Fremantle Team Round 4
Out: Pavlich (Achiles)