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Pies fall to Hawks

Hawthorn is only one win from the Grand Final after beating Collingwood by 38 points in their qualifying final at the MCG on Friday night.

Despite losing key midfielder Jordan Lewis before the game and Brendan Whitecross early in the first quarter, the Hawks were too strong, running out 20.15 (135) to 15.7 (97) winners in front of 85,625 fans.

Alastair Clarkson's team will now have a week off before a home preliminary final in a fortnight.

The Magpies face a cut-throat home semi-final next week, against either West Coast or North Melbourne.

The match was a red-hot contest for three quarters, as both sides attacked the ball and the man with desperation.

"The first half of the first quarter, I haven't seen 36 guys having a crack at the footy like that for a long time," Clarkson said post-match.

With Collingwood doggedly hanging on, the Hawks inched further ahead at every change, before finally breaking clear with the first four goals of the final term.

Lance Franklin booted four goals for Hawthorn in an engrossing battle with Chris Tarrant.

The veteran Magpie's physical tactics at times unsettled the superstar, but Franklin kept working hard and eventually became an influential factor in the outcome.

Jack Gunston, David Hale, Shane Savage, Luke Hodge, Luke Breust and Cyril Rioli all booted two goals for the Hawks, with their range of goalkicking options proving too much for Collingwood.

In-and-under onballers Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell were excellent for the winners, continually ferreting the ball from the foot of packs.

Thanks largely to the experienced pair, Hawthorn won clearances 50-39 and contested possessions 167-158.

Skipper Hodge had a commanding physical presence, and defender Josh Gibson patrolled the backline in a superb performance.

Xavier Ellis and Breust were the Hawks' other leading contributors.

Travis Cloke booted an equal career-best six goals in a powerful display for Collingwood, continuing his good form from last week.

Andrew Krakouer, in just his second game back from a knee reconstruction, was the Magpies' only other effective forward, kicking four goals in a strong showing.

Ben Sinclair played an important tagging role on Hawks playmaker Grant Birchall.

The young Magpie, who came into the side late in place of Jackson Paine, restricted Birchall to only 11 disposals.

Midfielders Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams all found plenty of the football.

Hawthorn withdrew Lewis before the match with what Clarkson described as "residual soreness".

He was replaced by Shane Savage, who started as the Hawks' sub.

Whitecross then suffered a suspected right anterior cruciate ligament strain in a marking contest just five minutes into the match.

He was subbed out of the game immediately, with Savage coming on.

Clarkson said both Lewis and Clinton Young would be fit for the preliminary final.

Adding to Collingwood's pain, skipper Nick Maxwell was reported for rough conduct on Paul Puopolo during the third quarter.

Puopolo left the field with a blood nose after the incident.

Hawk Jarryd Roughead may also face scrutiny for an off-the-ball bump on Chris Dawes.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley stayed positive after the loss.

"We've lost our double chance tonight but I think we're closer to where we need to get to," he said.

"A lot of tonight was encouraging.

"Hawthorn has taken 130 points off us three times this year, which is a major concern.

"But we nearly got 100 points of our own, which is going to be a winning score in most finals."

HAWTHORN            4.6    9.10    15.13    20.15 (135)
COLLINGWOOD     2.3    7.4     12.7      15.7 (97)


GOALS
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Savage 2, Hale 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Gunston 2, Hodge 2, Smith, Puopolo, Ellis, Roughead
Collingwood: Cloke 6, Krakouer 4, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Shaw, Dawes

BEST
Hawthorn: Sewell, Mitchell, Gibson, Breust, Franklin, Ellis
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Swan, Krakouer, Cloke, Sinclair
 
INJURIES
Hawthorn: Lewis (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Savage, Whitecross (knee), Puopolo (nose)
Collingwood: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Hawthorn: Brendan Whitecross (right knee) replaced by Shane Savage in the first quarter
Collingwood: Nathan Brown replaced by Alan Didak in the third quarter
 
Reports: Nick Maxwell (Collingwood) by umpire McInerney for rough conduct on Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) during the third quarter.

Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, McInerney
 
Official crowd: 84,625 at the MCG
 
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the club.