Hawks cop two key injuries in win over Dees

Hawthorn have paid dearly for their thumping 67-point AFL win over Melbourne, losing small forwards Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo to injury.

Hawks cop two key injuries in big AFL win

Hawks cop two key injuries in big AFL win

The Hawks were outstanding after a slow start in wet conditions on Sunday at the MCG, beating the Demons 18.7 (115) to 6.12 (48).

Hawthorn key defender James Frawley also spent a large chunk of the game off the ground with a migraine, while Demons co-captain Nathan Jones restricted prolific midfielder Tom Mitchell.

But Melbourne only kicked one goal from late in the first quarter and were badly beaten in the tackle count, 111-75.

It was a dreadful performance that reignites the debate about whether the Demons are ready to end their 12-year finals drought.

Hawthorn were as outstanding as Melbourne were terrible.

"We had to face a fair amount of adversity," said Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.

He is unsure how long Rioli and Puopolo will be out of action, but they do not look like short-term injuries.

Rioli has hurt the medial ligament in his left knee - the same injury that wiped out most of last season for him.

"They're not going to play next week and I wouldn't imagine they're going to play for a period of time ... it's hard to say," Clarkson said.

He praised Frawley for returning to the game in the second half, despite his migraine, and taking Rioli's place in attack.

Clarkson also was rapt with Hawthorn's tackle count.

"It was that sort of day, wasn't it?," he said of the greasy conditions.

"It says a lot about our commitment to put pressure on Melbourne.

"That wasn't great early and they got too much access to easy ball, but we picked up in that area."

Clarkson questioned Melbourne's decision to use Jones on Mitchell.

On the surface it looked like a big win - after three 40-plus games this season, Mitchell was kept to 24 disposals.

But the Hawks coach did not mind the result.

"He played a really sacrificial role for us," Clarkson said of Mitchell.

"They needed to take out their captain and one of their onfield generals to be able to do that role

"In my view that makes Melbourne weaker, not stronger."

Liam Shiels picked up the slack through the midfield with 31 disposals, while defender Ben Stratton and forward Luke Breust (four goals) also starred.

Melbourne made a great start, quickly taking a 21-point lead.

But the Hawks kicked the last goal of the first term to only trail by 12 points and from there they steadily took control.

"It certainly didn't reflect anything of the way we've played for a while now," said Demons coach Simon Goodwin.

"We went away from some of the things that have been critical to us ... we just weren't to the level."

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