Hawks grab win over North Melbourne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks grab win over North Melbourne

By Adam Cooper 12/07/2009 06:27:05 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's AFL season remains alive after North Melbourne learned a truism in Tasmania - the Franklin cannot be dammed for good.

Hawks star Lance Franklin answered his own watershed moment in the best way on Sunday, by bouncing back from a rough-conduct report to boot four last-quarter goals which sunk the Roos at a soaked Aurora Stadium.

Franklin's inspired cameo, and the decisive shift of Luke Hodge into the midfield, helped the reigning premiers keep alive their hope of defending their title with a comeback win that thrilled coach Alastair Clarkson.

Fourteen points down at three-quarter time and with their finals aspirations almost washed away, the Hawks booted five goals to one in the last term, and their 10.13 (73) to 9.10 (64) win kept their finals dream pulsing.

Franklin battled hard in the first three quarters against Josh Gibson but looked set for another fruitless day when he began the last quarter with three behinds and a report, for putting his knee into the front of North's Drew Petrie right in front of umpire Michael Vozzo.

But his strong grab and goal at the start of the last quarter sparked his side's comeback, before he out-marked his opponent - this time Scott Thompson - and later rolled through a goal across his body.

Hodge put the Hawks in front with 90 seconds left with a goal on the run, and Franklin kicked the sealer.

Hodge's role was also decisive, as his 12 last-quarter touches meant his side's midfield won possession and clearances too regularly for North to stop.

Clarkson was satisfied Franklin and Hawthorn earned their rewards after persevering through a wretched first half, when they could only muster two goals in constant heavy rain and even a lash of lightning not too far from the ground.

"The things you can do are tackle and defend and chase and try and get yourself into the game that way," Clarkson said.

"It was that type of day you just needed to stay in the contest and keep persevering and eventually the breaks would go your way if you just hang in there.

"The fact we were a little more direct meant it got there quicker and he was able to isolate his direct opponent on more occasions in the last quarter, and that made our whole forward line function a lot better."

Clarkson would not comment on Franklin's report and the Coleman medallist would not speak after the game, but Hawthorn will be desperate the match review panel is lenient when it views the contact, given they play red-hot Collingwood on Saturday night.

After three straight defeats, including last week's miserable showing against the Bulldogs, Clarkson rated Hawthorn's endeavour the best it had been for a while, and was pleased Hodge, Franklin, captain Sam Mitchell and onballer Brad Sewell rallied when needed.

North caretaker coach Darren Crocker highlighted the influence those key Hawks had as the difference, and was certain Hawthorn remained flag contenders.

"You don't win premierships for no reason," he said.

"They're a good side and that's where I'm proud of our guys because for so much of that game we were in a position to win it and push what I believe is a very good side."

Mitchell finished the game nursing a sore shoulder, but the Hawks are confident he will play the Magpies.

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