Hawthorn wins second consecutive AFL grand final
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Hawthorn won its second consecutive Australian Football League grand final on Saturday, dominating the Sydney Swans 21.11 (137) to 11.8 (74) before 99,454 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Hawks, who won their 12th premiership, led by 20 points after the first quarter and by 42 points at halftime, kicking 11 goals to Sydney’s five in the opening half. They led by 54 points going into the final quarter.
It was the Hawks’ third consecutive grand-final appearance. They lost to Sydney in 2012 before beating Fremantle last year.
Star forward Lance Franklin played in both those matches for Hawthorn, but moved to Sydney on a nine-year contract starting this season. On Saturday, Franklin led Sydney with four goals.
Hawthorn is the first team since Brisbane’s three straight titles from 2001-03 to win in consecutive years.
“We played four quarters of really tough footy,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said. “We’ve got great character, our boys. It’s a fitting reward for this group, fitting premiers.”
Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge, playing in his 250th match, won the Norm Smith Medal as most valuable player of the final for his 35 disposals, 12 marks and two goals. Jarryd Roughhead led the winners with five goals.
“To the Sydney boys ... you’re a quality side, a quality outfit and we have great respect for you,” Hodge said.
Sydney went into the game as favorite with bookmakers, but failed to match Hawthorn’s intensity in the first half.
“To our supporters, we’re sorry we let you down this year ... we’ll be back next year,” Sydney captain Jarrad McVeigh said.
Swans veteran Adam Goodes played the 351st and probably last game, failing to add a third premiership medal to his two Brownlow Medals as most valuable player of the season.
The MCG crowd was met with unprecedented security for the AFL’s showcase event after Australia increased its terrorism threat from medium to high two weeks ago.
Garbage bins were removed from train stations near the stadium, and twice as many uniformed officers were deployed than during last year’s final at the MCG.