Hawthorn’s disastrous start to the season continued on Easter Monday when Geelong moved to the top of the AFL ladder with an 86-point thumping of the Hawks.
The Cats heaped misery on Alastair Clarkson’s once-great side on Easter Monday, kicking 11 straight goals – their best tally at the MCG in their 120-year history – in the final term to record a 20.14 (134) to 6.12 (48) win.
The Hawks are winless after four rounds – for the first time in 20 years – and anchored to the bottom of the ladder with a percentage of just 56.
Clarkson admitted his players are devoid of confidence after a barren opening month, but said the message to the playing group after the game was to “hang in there”.
“If me, or we as a club, are guilty of having confidence in our playing group then that’s a good guilt that I sit with,” Clarkson said.
“Because it’s the only way forward for us … to look at our group, understand that they’ve got significant capabilities and we’ll find a way.
“Just when that will be? Hopefully it’s next week against West Coast, but if it’s not we’ll just keep working hard knowing full well that it’s going to be hard to keep this group down for a long period of time.
“This is the most significant down that we’ve had for a long time … we’ve all got to band together and fight our way through what’s a pretty tough time for our club.”
Chris Scott’s team leapt into top spot on the ladder with the percentage-boosting win, knocking Adelaide into second and Richmond into third.
The Crows and Tigers also remain unbeaten after defeating Essendon and Brisbane respectively.
Adelaide kicked their highest score of the season in a 24.9 (153) to 13.10 (88) demolition of the Bombers at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
Eddie Betts overcame the racism controversy that made headlines all week to kick six goals, while skipper Taylor Walker booted five.
Essendon’s Conor McKenna was offered a one-match ban by the match review panel on Monday for his high bump on Crows forward Riley Knight.
Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals and Shaun Grigg gathered 31 possessions as Richmond accounted for the Lions 17.17 (119) to 10.7 (67) at the Gabba on Sunday.
Collingwood were unable to follow up last week’s stirring win over Sydney, the Pies falling to a 9.15 (69) to 7.13 (55) loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The first-ever Good Friday clash between North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs didn’t rise to the occasion in a dour first half at Etihad Stadium.
But the contest sparked to life in the second, with the Dogs hanging on for a thrilling 12.17 (89) to 12.14 (86) win to consign the Roos to an 0-4 start to the season.
Luke Dahlhaus starred for the Bulldogs with 32 touches and two goals, with Ben Cunnington leading the way for North with 33 disposals.
Travis Cloke was taken to hospital for assessment after a crunching bump from Jack Ziebell that was deemed legal by the match review panel.
Port Adelaide’s slide down the ladder continued, Greater Western Sydney inflicting a 16.16 (112) to 11.15 (81) defeat on the Power in Canberra on Saturday.
Jonathon Patton kicked six goals and Tom Scully had 32 touches as the Giants moved into fourth spot.
Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch kicked a career-high seven goals in the Suns’ 17.6 (108) to 12.10 (82) win over Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Rodney Eade’s side improved to a 2-2 record with the victory, but it came at a cost with co-captain Steven May sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Fremantle’s resurgence continued with a last-gasp 16.10 (106) to 15.14 (104) win over Melbourne at the MCG.
Former Giant Cam McCarthy kicked his second goal of the match inside the last minute to seal the Dockers’ second win of the season.
West Coast kicked off round four with a hard-fought 13.13 (91) to 10.5 (65) win over Sydney, who are yet to record a victory this season.