Greatness for Hawks in claiming three-peat
HAWTHORN Hawks cemented itself as one of the greatest football teams in the history of the sport by claiming its third consecutive premiership in frightening fashion over the West Coast Eagles 16.11.107 - 8.13.61.
Only four other teams in the 119-year history of Australian rules football have pulled off the fabled three-peat and there's no reason why they can't go for a fourth straight.
But the season came with severe adversity both on and off the field.
Senior coach Alastair Clarkson paid tribute to assistant coach Brett Ratten whose 16-year-old son was killed in joy-ride accident and assistant coach Brendon Bolton who was appointed as Carlton coach midseason.
"To our coaching crew, we've had to do it really hard throughout the course of this year," Clarkson said.
"Had to overcome the adversity of (Brett) Ratts' young fella being killed in that car accident, so Ratts, good on ya lad - thanks mate.
"(Brendon) Bolts was taken by the blues six or eight weeks ago, we had to do it really tough for a little while there and Damian Carroll filled in his role superbly well."
Meanwhile, on the field Hawthorn endured its most difficult season of the three premiership years, overcoming a qualifying final loss at the hands of the Eagles.
But once Norm Smith Medallist Cyril Rioli got the Hawks off the mark with its first goal, the result was never in doubt. Rioli was one of the standouts of the finals series and he saved his best for last, snatching two crucial early goals and setting up countless others.
"I just want to thank everyone for coming out here today from both crowds, thanks for the west coast boys, to my wife and family sitting up in the stands, thank you," Rioli said.
Unfortunately, West Coast, this year's Cinderella story couldn't match it with Hawthorn, despite a massive turnaround from last year's ninth place finish.
West Coast captain Shannon Hurn stayed positive in his address to his team-mates.
"To what's a great day, just got to keep working boys and keeping working harder to get back here boys," he said.
"Hawthorn, well played today, just way too good."