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Hot Hawks roll Pies

Hawthorn has emphatically stamped itself as a genuine premiership contender, clinically dissecting Collingwood by 47 points at the MCG on Saturday.

If early season losses to Geelong, West Coast and the Sydney Swans raised questions about the Hawks' pedigree and mental toughness, they emphatically answered them in their 21.12 (138) to 13.13 (91) win over the Magpies.

The scoreline flattered the Magpies, the Hawks having led by 68 points at the six-minute mark of the final quarter before easing up at the death.

It was the Hawks' seventh straight win and leapfrogged them over the Magpies into second on the ladder, pending the result of the Sydney Swans' clash with St Kilda at the SCG on Sunday.

The Hawks also answered any queries that their forward line was a one-man show, with Jordan Lewis outstanding in Lance Franklin's absence, shutting down Pies rebounder Heath Shaw and kicking a career-high five goals.

Lewis was well supported in attack by Luke Breust (a career-high five goals), Jack Gunston and Jarryd Roughead (both three).

Admittedly, the Hawks' forwards were spoon-fed by a dominant Hawthorn midfield, with Brad Sewell excellent in a run-with role on Magpie star Scott Pendlebury and Sam Mitchell prolific as ever.

Cyril Rioli was also at his creative best, breaking the game open through the midfield and attack in a manner statistics cannot capture.

The Hawks' dream day got off to the perfect start when their skipper Luke Hodge starred in the Box Hill Hawks' VFL clash with Collingwood and, better still, got through three quarters unscathed.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the Hawks had been setting themselves for some time for Saturday's clash.

"We rate Collingwood as a very, very good side, so we've been working particularly hard over the last six or seven weeks," Clarkson said after the match.

"Of all the sides that we have played, Collingwood have probably represented the biggest scalp in terms of what they have been able to achieve as a footy club over the last two to three years.

"So there was a big build up to the game for us and we were pleased we were able to test ourselves and come out the victors."

The Pies kicked the game's opening goal through Steele Sidebottom but from there their day turned sour.

Midfielders Dayne Beams (four goals) and Dane Swan (a career-high 49 possessions) were the Pies' best, battling valiantly in the face of the Hawks' dominance.

After the game Nathan Buckley said Hawthorn was the competition's in-form team.

"We were dominated in all areas: contested ball, I thought their ball movement was excellent, their defence and their pressure on us was very good and we struggled to deal with all of it," Buckley said.

Hawthorn opened the game in scintillating fashion, jumping out to a 23-point lead at the 29-minute of the first term as they stifled the Magpies' playmakers in the midfield and across half-back.

A late goal to Magpie Chris Tarrant after a sloppy Matt Suckling kick-in cut the Hawks' quarter-time lead to 13 points. It - and the Hawks' inaccurate 5.6 scoreline - infuriated Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson enough that he hit his coach's box wall with an open palm, leaving a hole.

The Magpies' midfield started to work its way into the game early in the second term and got within six points at the eight-minute mark. However, the Hawks weathered the storm and led by 19 points at half-time.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs