Gunston stars as Hawthorn win AFL Grand Final

By Sam Lienert
AAP

Hawthorn have held off a Fremantle comeback threat to clinch their second AFL premiership in six years.

The Hawks won 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62) in front of 100,007 fans.

Brian Lake starred in defence, to more than justify his recruitment from the Western Bulldogs last off-season, captain Luke Hodge again showed himself one of the AFL's great big-game performers and Jack Gunston followed his preliminary final heroics with another four-goal haul.

It delivered Hawthorn their first flag since 2008 - making two-time premiership players of 10 members of Saturday's side, including Shaun Burgoyne, who won a flag with Port Adelaide in 2004.

One of those is Lance Franklin, who was again quiet with one goal in what might have been his last game in Hawthorn colours, as he considers a big-money move to Greater Western Sydney.

It also ensured the Hawks would shake the underachievers tag, after near misses in the past two years - upset by 10 points by Sydney in last year's grand final and falling three points short of Collingwood in a preliminary final in 2011.

It's another grand final defeat for Dockers coach Ross Lyon, who led St Kilda to the 2009-10 deciders for two losses and a draw, with Fremantle's former Saints defender Zac Dawson sharing Lyon's record of four grand finals without a win.

Gunston's three first-half goals were priceless, as both sides struggled to produce their best early.

The Dockers, playing in the first grand final in the club's history, were particularly nervy.

They managed just 1.6 to Hawthorn's 5.5 in the first half.

Midfielder Nathan Fyfe, who had a superb game in most respects, sent two set shots out on the full in the first quarter and missed another chance in the second term.

It took until 12 minutes into the second quarter for Fremantle to kick their first goal, that honour going to Tendai Mzungu, after Fyfe emerged from traffic to deliver a neat pass.

By that stage, the Hawks already had four on the board - two in the first quarter and two early in the second.

After Mzungu's major, Gunston replied with his third goal, outmarking Zac Dawson in the goalsquare, to put Hawthorn 23 points up at halftime.

No club since Richmond in 1921 had won a grand final after scoring just one major in the first half, but the Dockers threatened to defy history with a third-quarter surge.

They'd been dominating the ruck through giant Aaron Sandilands all game, but started to make it count on the scoreboard.

Midfielders David Mundy, Fyfe, Michael Barlow and Stephen Hill were all prominent as they kicked five of the first seven goals of the third term, including two to captain Matthew Pavlich after a quiet first half and two to goalsneak Michael Walters.

It put Fremantle within three points, although Gunston replied with a clever snap for his fourth late in the quarter to help the Hawks regain a 10-point buffer at the last change.

Isaac Smith added more breathing space five minutes into the last term with a thumping 55m set shot.

Four minutes later, a slick piece of roving and right-foot snap from Luke Breust made the margin four goals and when Bradley Hill, who started the game opposed to brother Stephen, made it a five-goal gap midway through the last term Hawks supporters were in celebration mode.

Lake won the Norm Smith Medal as best afield.

The 31-year-old had stated when traded from the Bulldogs that he was moving to play in a premiership, after being part of three losing preliminary finals with the Dogs.

Jordan Lewis, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall and Cyril Rioli, who laid seven tackles, were also good for the Hawks.

For the Dockers, tagger Ryan Crowley continued his blanketing jobs on a collection of AFL stars, keeping Sam Mitchell to just 12 touches, with Fyfe and Mundy also among their best.

The premiership was the Hawks' 11th, all since 1961.

SEASON 2013 IN REVIEW

BEST GOALS

Gary Ablett, Lance Franklin and Andrew Walker have been selected as the nominations for the AFL goal of the year for 2013.

BEST MARKS

Jay Schulz, Nic Naitanui and Jamie Elliot are all in the running for the AFL mark of the year for 2013.

BIGGEST SCANDALS

It has been a mixed year for coaches this year with the Essendon supplements scandal rocking the AFL and coaches being let go after wasteful performances.

FALCONS

A celebration of the greatest falcons of the 2013 AFL season.