Hawks shore up eighth spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks shore up eighth spot

By Roger Vaughan 16/08/2010 08:06:37 AM Comments (0)

The AFL top eight was effectively settled on Sunday as Hawthorn bounced back to beat Melbourne and St Kilda was too strong for North Melbourne.

The Hawks stayed eighth and now lead the ninth-placed Kangaroos by one-and-a-half games, plus percentage, while Melbourne are two games outside the eight.

Mathematically, North and Melbourne can still make the finals with two rounds left, but Hawthorn will start warm favourites against Fremantle next Saturday in Launceston.

After losses to Port Adelaide and Sydney, plus some stinging public criticism from club president Jeff Kennett, Hawthorn beat Melbourne by 21-points in sodden conditions at the MCG.

The 15.9 (99) to 12.6 (78) win was a hard-fought contest and Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was proud of his team's performance.

"We had our backs to the wall pretty firmly, because our performances on the road in the last two weeks have been dreadful," he said.

"It was really important as a footy club (that) we took stock of that, understood that our desperation at the contest, at the opposition just wasn't anywhere near the level we pride ourselves on.

Clarkson said Kennett's inflammatory comments, if anything, helped the team.

"I don't think what he had to say was out of line, in a sense, because we were woeful last week and we deserved to cop a whack from wherever it came from," he said.

"It's unusual and unique that it's from your president, because footy isn't usually like that in terms of that open and frank assessment.

"What it did do was really channel our energies and focus quite clearly on what we needed to do to play good footy."

The Saints continued to play good footy at Etihad Stadium, beating North by 52 points.

Captain Nick Riewoldt kicked seven goals in his best game since returning from hamstring surgery as the Saints won 17.13 (115) to 9.9 (63).

Also on Sunday, Adelaide pulled away from Brisbane at the 'Gabba to win by seven points.

Lions captain Jonathan Brown remains on 199 games after he was a late withdrawal and the Crows won 15.14 (104) to 13.19 (97).

Carlton and Sydney also shored up their finals berths on Saturday with big wins.

The seventh-placed Swans were outstanding at Subiaco, beating Fremantle by nine points.

The 14.12 (96) to 13.9 (87) result means the fifth-placed Dockers have lost four of their last six.

Carlton stayed sixth with an 89-point belting of Richmond.

They posted their highest score of the season, winning 23.18 (156) to 10.7 (67).

Defending premiers Geelong made a major statement on Saturday night, smashing the Western Bulldogs by 101 points.

The 25.11 (161) to 9.6 (60) mauling begs some big questions about the Bulldogs' premiership hopes, regardless of the virus that had hit the club in the previous week.

Port Adelaide had their record low home crowd of 14,113 on Saturday night as they beat last-placed West Coast by one point, 8.13 (61) to 8.12 (60).

Top side Collingwood opened the round with a predictable 98-point humiliation of Essendon at the MCG, 24.18 (162) to 10.4 (64).

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