Four goals to Jack Gunston during his 100th AFL game have helped premiers Hawthorn to a 72-point drubbing of Brisbane.
The 21.8 (134) to 9.8 (62) victory on Saturday was secured by a 10-goal haul in the second quarter, which took the Hawks go to the main break with a 34-point lead at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.
Gunston was valuable in attack throughout the free-flowing game and found good support.
Along with standout efforts from ever-reliable forward Jarryd Roughead, who finished with three goals and 30 disposals, and Liam Shiels (34 disposals), the Hawks didn’t suffer from the absence of skipper Luke Hodge (suspension) and Sam Mitchell (injury).
It was a quick-fire start for the Hawks with Matthew Suckling kicking a goal in the opening 30 seconds on the first play of the day.
But Brisbane appeared determined not to let the favourites run away too early and quickly replied.
Pearce Hanley found the middle pegs for the Lions, and chasers came from Luke McGuane, Jed Adcock and skipper Tom Rockliff.
The Hawks seemed stifled and Brisbane went to the first break 15 points ahead.
It was to be a short-lived lead, however, with the Hawks returning for the second quarter to pile on 10 goals, including an impressive Isaac Smith bomb from outside 50.
After displaying early confidence, the Lions lost their rhythm, giving away possession through repeated errors as Hawthorn dominated.
The Hawks shared the spoils with 12 players kicking goals, including James Frawley who finished with three.
Meanwhile, Greater Western Sydney scored the biggest win in their history and gave incoming Carlton coach Brendon Bolton plenty of food for thought.
The Giants kicked 15 goals to three after halftime to canter to a 81-point win over Carlton in their final home game of the season at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Jeremy Cameron kicked seven goals, all after halftime, to swell his tally for the year to 61 as the Giants romped to a 20.12 (132) to 7.9 (51) victory.
It was the Giants 11th win of the season and the margin eclipsed their previous best of 78 set against Carlton in Melbourne earlier in the year.
Bolton, who earlier in the week was announced as the Blues next head coach, was at the ground.
And the Western Bulldogs ended North Melbourne’s seven-match winning streak in dramatic fashion that belies the 23-point winning margin.
In a match of wild momentum swings between two finals-bound sides, the Bulldogs finished with more run on Saturday to claim a 14.12 (96) to 10.13 (73) win.
After overcoming the Kangaroos’ early lead, the Bulldogs looked home and hosed halfway through the last term when Jason Johannisen put them 23 point ahead.
But up stepped former Bulldog Shaun Higgins, in his 150th match, and Jarrad Waite who kicked two goals in two minutes to take it to the line.
The Bulldogs were up to the challenge, running all over the Kangaroos with the next four goals, including two from Shane Biggs.
Even more impressively, Luke Beveridge’s side achieved the result on a six-day break coming back from Perth, giving them huge confidence for the finals series ahead.
If they can finish the season with a win over last-placed Brisbane next week, the Bulldogs are set to host an elimination final.