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Hawthorn open AFL title defense with a win

March 22, 2014

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead both kicked five goals as Hawthorn opened its defense of the Australian Football League title with a hard-won 48-point win over Brisbane in the second part of a split first round.

Playing without seven of last season’s grand final players, Hawthorn overcame a spirited third-quarter rally from Brisbane to extend a winning streak against the Lions that began in 2009.

Brisbane went goalless in the second quarter to trail by 22 points at halftime but fought back within two points of the lead in the third quarter. Hawthorn restored a 25-point margin at the last change and booted eight goals to five in the final period to run away with the win.

Jonathan Brown kicked four goals, while Trent West and Tom Rockliff scored three apiece for Brisbane.

“Both sides made plenty of errors which are expected in round one of the season,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said. “It was really just who was going to finish their work better and we managed to do that.”

Five players made their AFL debuts in the match at Launceston in Tasmania. Among the most impressive was youngster Tim O’Brien, wearing Lance Franklin’s old No. 23 jersey, who booted Hawthorn’s opener from 50 meters after a strong mark.

Brisbane scored five of the first seven goals in the third quarter but its momentum stalled with a series of bad misses and Hawthorn scored the last four goals of the period to control the match.

“I guess the disappointing part when you’re coming into three-quarter time, you look at the score and see you’ve matched them in scoring shots but you’re 25 points behind the top team and you’ve actually been really competitive,” Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch said. “That can be a little bit disheartening.”

Jimmy Bartel booted four goals, including three in the second quarter, as Geelong beat Adelaide 18.11 (119) to 12.9 (81). Adelaide hit the front early in the last quarter but Geelong kicked the last six goals to mark Bartel’s 250th match with a win.

Essendon beat North Melbourne 15.9 (99) to 9.6 (60), shrugging off a continuing furore over suspended coach James Hird, who oversaw a controversial supplements regime at the club in 2012.

New coach Mark Thompson said the Essendon players were told to ignore off-field issues.

“We told all our players not to even go there,” he said. “It’s not the right time, we’ve got a game on, and I wanted all my players, all my staff, just to concentrate on the game.”

Nick Riewoldt kicked three goals and rallied St. Kilda in a vital third quarter as it beat Melbourne 10.8 (68) to 6.15 (51).

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