Hawthorn warmed up for their grand final rematch by cruising to a 105-point victory over Melbourne, inflicting Paul Roos’ biggest loss as an AFL coach.
The Hawks heaped more misery on the uncompetitive Demons at the MCG on Saturday, winning 24.11 (155) to 7.8 (50) with minimal fuss and plenty of hard running.
Roos’ heaviest defeat had previously been Melbourne’s 93-point loss to West Coast last year.
Alastair Clarkson’s men punished turnovers and benefited from substandard defending, finding loose men everywhere in a fashion more commonly seen at training.
Sydney will provide more resistance at the MCG on Saturday week, but such a one-sided contest should restore the Hawks’ confidence after a shock loss in round six.
It all started so positively for Melbourne.
Jarryd Roughead’s opening-minute shot went out on the full, allowing the Demons to bank the first two goals of the game.
Bernie Vince’s intercept was followed by an intelligent kick that created space for Jeff Garlett to run into.
Garlett did just that – plucking the ball near the 50m arc and carrying it all the way to the goal square.
Cameron Pedersen, a late inclusion for Jesse Hogan, then clutched a contested mark and converted.
The Demons had a 12-point lead after four minutes.
Were the reigning premiers really at risk of being rolled two weeks in a row?
The answer couldn’t have been more succinct and would have been unpleasant viewing for those Melbourne fans among the crowd of 41,935.
The Hawks booted 23 of the next 26 goals, building a 26-point lead at quarter-time and increasing it at every break.
Their pressure was relentless, while Melbourne’s was almost nonexistent.
That can explain some of the Demons’ schoolboy errors, but not all of them.
Take for example Pedersen’s set shot in the second quarter, when he pulled in a strong pack mark.
The key forward failed to make the distance from approximately 35m out, while none of his teammates bothered to provide a contest in the goal square.
Pedersen, Daniel Cross and Nathan Jones were among their side’s best, based on endeavour as much as anything else.
“It’s been a deplorable afternoon from a Melbourne point of view,” Demons legend Garry Lyon remarked on radio station Triple M.
James Frawley, who left the Demons after the 2014 season as a free agent, was involved in few blow-ups against his old side but was routinely booed by Melbourne fans.
Hawthorn had 13 goal-kickers, headed by Roughead’s four, while the run of Bradley Hill and Billy Hartung complemented a typically brilliant game from Sam Mitchell in the middle.