Lance Franklin
Lance Franklin

Hawthorn have withstood a resolute challenge from Collingwood but ultimately proved too good for the Magpies in an enthralling 38-point qualifying final victory on Friday night at the MCG.

On a cold, blustery night for finals footy, the contests were still as hot as they come for much of the evening. But the Hawks were cleaner with the ball through the middle and took their chances when it really counted as they extended their lead at each change.

Trailing by 24 at three-quarter time, Collingwood needed everything to go right in the last quarter if they were to challenge in any way.

But the Magpies had run their race and a four-goal barrage in the quarter's first nine minutes saw Hawthorn run away with it in the end for a 20.15 (135) to 15.7 (97) result that puts the premiership favourites on the cusp of their first Grand Final since winning the flag in 2008.

The Magpies, though, will line up next weekend at the MCG for a qualifying final clash with either West Coast or North Melbourne but may have to do so without key defenders Nick Maxwell and Chris Tarrant, who will both be looked at by the match review panel on Monday.

Tarrant engaged in a running battle with Lance Franklin for much of the game, restricting him to four majors, although the big forward was influential in the run of goals to open the final term, setting up one for Jarryd Roughead and booting another himself.

But right from the outset, Tarrant attempted to physically intimidate Franklin and a jab to the forward's face during a wrestle could be looked at among other things.

Pies skipper Maxwell, meanwhile, was reported for rough conduct following an off-the-ball clash with Paul Puopolo that left the Hawks forward with a blood nose as he left the field in the third term.

The Hawks, though, may not come out of the contest unscathed as ruckman Roughead will also have an off-the-ball clash with Chris Dawes early in the second term examined by the MRP.

Given a two-week break before the preliminary final, Hawks defender Brendan Whitecross may also overcome a knee injury suffered at the ninth minute mark of the first quarter, a problem that saw him carried from the ground and immediately subbed out of the game.

Whitecross returned to the bench and appeared in good spirits but in his absence, Hawthorn substitute Shane Savage - a late inclusion for the hamstrung Jordan Lewis - stepped up to boot two goals in the first half in an impressive display.

Savage was helped in his efforts by some impressive displays from usual suspects Brad Sewell (32 possessions), Sam Mitchell (31/12 clearances) and Liam Shiels (22), while Luke Breust's 19 touches were instrumental throughout the first three quarters as he kicked two goals and set up several others with his clean skills.

For the Magpies Travis Cloke booted an equal career-best six goals as he convincingly won his contest with Ryan Schoenmakers, while Andrew Krakouer's Lazarus-like return from a knee reconstruction continued as he booted four.

But both those forwards fluffed crucial shots at goal in the third quarter when the match was still on the line and their missed chances were ruthlessly capitalised on by the Hawks down the other end.

In an intense opening, Collingwood re-discovered their A-grade pressure of old, paving the way for one of the more brutal quarters in living memory as tackles flew in from all directions and uncontested possessions were at a premium.

Thriving on the physicality, Luke Hodge bobbed up with the opening goal, busting his way through two tackles to slam the ball home.

It proved to be the first of four Hawthorn goals for the term as they took a 15-point advantage into the first break as the Magpies were forced to work incredibly hard for their two majors against a dominant Hawthorn backline.

Collingwood weren't helped by some poor ball movement, their long bombs into the forward 50 allowing Josh Gibson to spoil time and time and time again, setting up attacks the other way.

Gibson's efforts saw the Hawks have 21 spoils for the opening quarter, but having had their kicks picked off, Collingwood responded by re-instating the old Mick Malthouse game plan of careful ball movement through short passing in the second term.

As the Magpies also lifted their pressure, Hawthorn struggled to respond, allowing their opponents to re-take the lead at the 25-minute mark of the term when Krakouer kicked his second for the quarter.

But having grabbed the lead, the Magpies promptly let it slip as the Hawks slammed on three goals in the quarter's last six minutes, as Franklin's goal after the siren gave them a three-goal advantage at the main break.

Collingwood appeared poised to pull one back a minute after half-time as Cloke marked strongly five metres from goal.

But the Magpies were denied as Tarrant was penalised for a challenge on Franklin in the middle of the ground, with Franklin setting it up for David Hale to kick truly down the other end.

The Hawks fired out to a 36-point lead when Jack Gunston kicked truly 20 minutes into the term, but two goals from Cloke saw Collingwood trail by just 24 at the last change, before Hawthorn put the pedal to the metal.

HAWTHORN: 4.6, 9.10, 15.13, 20.15 (135)
COLLINGWOOD: 2.3, 7.4, 12.7, 15.7 (97)

GOALS: Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Hale 2, Savage 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Gunston 2, Hodge 2, Smith, Puopolo, Ellis, Roughead
Collingwood: Cloke 6, Krakouer 4, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Shaw, Dawes
BEST: Hawthorn: Breust, Mitchell, Sewell, Gibson, Franklin, Shiels, Savage
Collingwood: Cloke, Krakouer, Pendlebury, Swan
INJURIES: Hawthorn Whitecross (knee)
Collingwood: Nil
SUBSTITUTES: Hawthorn: Savage on for Whitecross (1st quarter)
Collingwood: Didak on for Brown (third quarter)
CHANGES: Hawthorn Lewis (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Savage
Collingwood: Paine replaced in selected side by Sinclair
REPORTS: Collingwood Nick Maxwell reported for rough conduct in the third quarter against Paul Puopolo by Umpire McInerney.
UMPIRES: Nicholls, Meredith, McInerney
CROWD: 85,625 at the MCG, Melbourne

Do you want to walk out in front of 90,000 people at a packed MCG and toss the coin at the 2012 AFL Grand Final?

Enter our Unbreakable Toyota Hilux competition and you and a friend will be at the biggest game of the year and you will toss the coin before the opening bounce.

For your chance to win this incredible prize enter here.


More from 7Sport