Saturday, October 03, 2015

Hawthorn: 2015 AFL Premiers

ALASTAIR Clarkson's Hawthorn team has irrefutably stamped itself as one of the greatest sides in VFL/AFL history, clinching its third consecutive premiership with a commanding 46-point win over West Coast in the hottest Grand Final on record.

After the Eagles kicked the opening goal of Saturday's game at the MCG, the Hawks took a stranglehold on the contest with nine straight goals to set up a 16.11 (107) to 8.13 (61) triumph on a windy day when the temperature rose to 31.3 degrees to surpass the previous Grand Final record of 30.7 in 1987.

The victory made Clarkson's 2013-15 Hawks just the fifth club to win three flags in a row, joining Carlton (1906-08), Collingwood (1927-30), Melbourne (1939-41 and 1955-57) and the Brisbane Lions (2001-03).

Clarkson is also now the Hawks' most successful coach, with Saturday's win his fourth premiership triumph (2008, 2013-15) and taking him past the three flags won by John Kennedy snr (1971, 1976, 1978) and Allan Jeans (1983, 1986, 1989).

Just three weeks after West Coast humbled them in the qualifying final, the Hawks turned the tables, rediscovering their trademark mix of 'unsociable' pressure and clinical ball movement that had deserted them at Domain Stadium three weeks ago.

The Hawks set their win up with a commanding first half when they regularly got over the back of Adam Simpson's vaunted 'web' defence to find open targets inside their forward 50.

They also forced West Coast into uncharacteristic mistakes with their relentless defensive intensity, while they were as accurate in front of goal as the Eagles were wasteful.

Cyril Rioli was the star, providing much of the spark on Hawthorn' s forward line, particularly in the first half. He finished two goals, four goal assists and 12 marks and was an extremely popular winner of the Norm Smith Medal.

Lucky 13 - Hawthorn's VFL/AFL premierships
Year    Grand Final    Norm Smith Medal
1961     Hawthorn 13.16 (94) d Footscray 7.9 (51)     Not awarded
1971     Hawthorn 12.10 (82) d St Kilda 11.9 (75)     Kelvin Moore* (Haw)
1976     Hawthorn 13.22 (100) d North Melbourne 10.10 (70)     John Hendrie* (Haw)
1978     Hawthorn 18.13 (121) d North Melbourne 15.13 (103)     Robert DePierdomenico* (Haw)
1983     Hawthorn 20.20 (140) d Essendon 8.9 (57)     Colin Robertson (Haw)
1986     Hawthorn 16.14 (110) d Carlton 9.14 (68)     Gary Ayres (Haw)
1988     Hawthorn 22.20 (152) d Melbourne 6.20 (56)     Gary Ayres (Haw)
1989     Hawthorn 21.18 (144) d Geelong 21.12 (138)     Gary Ablett (Geel)
1991     Hawthorn 20.19 (139) d West Coast 13.8 (86)     Paul Dear (Haw)
2008     Hawthorn 18.7 (115) d Geelong 11.23 (89)     Luke Hodge (Haw)
2013     Hawthorn 11.11 (77) d Fremantle 8.14 (62)     Brian Lake (Haw)
2014     Hawthorn 21.11 (137) d Sydney Swans 11.8 (74)     Luke Hodge (Haw)
2015     Hawthorn 16.11 (107) d West Coast 8.13 (61)     Cyril Rioli (Haw)
*Between 1965-78, 'Grand Final best on ground' was awarded before becoming the Norm Smith Medal in 1979

Jack Gunston made a seamless return from the ankle injury that had sidelined him since the qualifying final, kicking a game high four goals, while Sam Mitchell controlled the game in the midfield, winning an equal game-high 34 possessions that were delivered with his usual precision. The former Hawks skipper also had six clearances, four tackles and two goal assists.

Hard-running wingman Isaac Smith also hurt the Eagles on the scoreboard with three goals, while two-time Norm Smith medallist Luke Hodge (30 possessions) enjoyed another good Grand Final day, the highlight a banana off one step from the boundary line early in the second quarter.

James Frawley continued his strong form since his disappointing performance against the Eagles three weeks ago, keeping Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy goalless, while Brian Lake (11 marks) regularly short-circuited attacks with intercept marks and stopped Josh Hill from goaling early in the last quarter with a desperate smother.

After trailing by 44 points at the 14-minute mark of the second term, West Coast briefly threatened to get back into the game when they kicked the next three goals.

The first two came through Josh Hill and, after the half-time siren, Elliot Yeo.

Yeo's composed set shot from 40m cut the Hawks' lead to 31 points at the main break, and when Jack Darling kicked the opening goal of the second half West Coast was back within 24 points and you sensed, more importantly, back in the game.

But it quickly went south for the Eagles, best illustrated by Darling's dropped mark and subsequent fumble when a simple set shot was in the offing.

The Hawks whipped the ball out of their defensive 50 and Ryan Schoenmakers kicked truly at the other end, snuffing out any sense they might wilt in the unseasonable spring heat. Hawthorn kicked five of the next six goals to go into three-quarter time with an unassailable 50-point lead.

The final quarter was little more than a victory march for the Hawks, and the Eagles restored some respectability to the scoreline with the final three goals of the game.

The Eagles were attempting to become the first team to win the Grand Final after missing the previous year's finals since Geelong in 2007, and just the fourth team to do so since the competition went national in 1987 – the others being Essendon in 1993 and Adelaide in 1997.

Their endeavour could not be faulted but their ball use was well below their normal standards, especially in front of goal. For example, after holding their own in general play in the first quarter, they went into the break down by 19 points, thanks to their 1.5 return and the Hawks' 5.0.

Andrew Gaff (34 possessions) ran tirelessly in the midfield, Luke Shuey (26 possessions) tried hard but let himself down at times with his disposals and Sam Butler stood up in defence under the Hawks' constant barrages.

Ben McEvoy and Nic Naitanui face off in a ruck contest. Picture: AFL Media

Only Jock McHale's legendary Collingwood 'machine' teams now stand above Clarkson's Hawks with their League-record four consecutive premierships from 1927-30.

And just four coaches have won more flags than Clarkson – McHale (eight), Norm Smith (six), Jack Worrall and Frank 'Checker' Hughes (both five).

Seventeen Hawks played in all three of the 2013-15 flags – Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli, Jordan Lewis, Grant Birchall, Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson, Brian Lake, Ben Stratton, Isaac Smith, Luke Breust, Paul Puopolo, David Hale, Liam Shiels, Jack Gunston and Bradley Hill.

Hodge, Mitchell, Roughead, Rioli, Lewis and Birchall have played in all four flags in the Clarkson era, while Burgoyne is also now a four-time premiership player, having played in Port's 2004 Grand Final win.

HAWTHORN           5.0  9.3  14.5  16.11 (107)
WEST COAST         1.5  3.8 5.9  8.13 (61)

Hawthorn: Gunston 4, Smith 3, Rioli 2, Hodge, Roughead, Birchall, Schoenmakers, Hill, McEvoy, Suckling
West Coast: McGovern 2, Darling, Hill, Hutchings, LeCras, Shuey, Yeo

Hawthorn: Rioli, Mitchell, Smith, Hodge, Gunston, Burgoyne, Frawley
West Coast: Gaff, Shuey, Butler, Hutchings, Priddis

Hawthorn: Nil
West Coast: Nil

Hawthorn: David Hale replaced by Matt Suckling in the third quarter
West Coast: Callum Sinclair replaced by Matt Rosa in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Rosebury, Stevic

Official crowd: 98,633 at MCG

ISML 2015: Chiyo, Mikan lead the Topaz

ISML 2015: Chiyo, Mikan lead the Topaz

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
The Bedlam on Baltic Avenue
October 3, 2015

Match Day 3 of the 2015 International Saimoe League took place on Madoka Kaname's birthday, and on a day where Hawthorn won another AFL premiership, Chiyo Sakura and Mikan Yuuki lead the Nova and Stella Divisions. Chiyo, however, has already won a necklace, which means that Yui Yuigahama is in the driver's set in the Nova.

In the Nova Division, Yui yuigama hammered Umi Sonoda 3730-1758, Tohka Yatogami won a 3773-3674 thriller over Eli Ayase, Kosaki Onodera throttled Misaki Shokuhou 3720-1705, Stephanie Dola crushed Satone Shichimiya 3322-2513, Yuuki Konno took down Shino Asada 4355-2917 and Yoshino silenced Akame 3229-2626.

Yukino Yukinoshita routed Mirai Kuriyama 3815-1909, Tina Sprout flattened Nico Yazawa 4504-2733, Shiro slammed Miyuki Shiba 3594-2293, Chitoge Kirisaki defeated Terminus Est 3161-2544, Jibril flew past Yaya 3227-2546 and Kurumi Tokisaki gunned down Kotori Minami 3025-2798.

Wrapping up Nova Division play, Kaori Miyazono defeated Origami Tobiichi 3025-2798, Chiyo Sakura whipped past Marika Tachibana, Maki Nishikino thrashed Enju Aihara 3139-2656, Isuzu Sento drove past Latifa Fleuranza, Kurousagi bounced past Azusa Azuki 2997-2644 and Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi romped past Yukina Himeragi 3227-2418.

In the Stella Division, Shana torched Momo Velia Deviluke 3454-2459, Nanami Aoyama routed defending champion Kotori Itsuka 4067-2896, Saber slashed past Asuna Yuuki 3867-3521, Yui Hirasawa rocked Kobato Hasegawa 4551-2750, Yui-nyan cruised past Sena Kashiwazaki and Eucliwood Hellscythe silenced Yuri Nakamura 3662-3373.

Eru Chitanda prevailed over Holo 2993-2881, Charlotte Dunois drubbed Shinobu Oshino 4012-3136, Kurisu Makise leveled Konjiki no Yami 4258-3034, Mikan Yuuki romped past Azusa Nakano 4154-3188, Kirino Kousaka scored the Upset of the Round: a 3755-2447 hammering and Rin Tohsaka won a 3814-3745 nailbiter over Rikka Takanashi.

Wrapping up Stella Division play, Hitagi Senjougahara prevailed over C.C. 2979-2790, Haruhi Suzumiya pipped past Ayase Aragaki 3111-3030, Shinka Nibutani rolled past Nadeko Sengoku 4382-2957, Kuroyukihime flew past Illyasviel von Einzbern 3833-3137, Mashiro Shiina defeated Taiga Aisaka 3954-3732 and Nyarlathotep annihilated Yuki Nagato 4242-2616.

In Male Division action, Ryuji Takasu roared past Umetarou Nozaki 2807-2758, Accelerator acccelerated past Shidou Itsuka 3569-2153, Seiya Kanie thrashed Tatsuya Shiba 2956-2592, Archer dominated Yato 3108-2541, Yuuta Togashi prevailed Edward Elric 2967-2733 and Keima defeated Kiritsuga Emiya 2831-2726.

Touma Kamijou broke Rintarou Okabe 3198-2397, Shirou Emiya rolled past Gilgamesh 2975-2519, Yuzuru Otonashi blew apart Sadao Maou 3206-2479, Shizuo Heiwajima crushed L Lawliet 3028-2387, Sorata Kanda defeated Rentarou Satomi 2864-2591 and Hachiman Hikigaya routed Raku Ichijou 4038-1845.

Wrapping up Male Division play, Tomoya Okazaki defeated Gintoki Sakata 2837-2696, Sora slammed Mikoto Mikoshiba 3145-2597, Ryuunosuke Akasaka won the closest race of the night: a 2770-2755 barnburner over Izaya Orihara, Kyon dominated Levi 3196-2482, Koyomi Araragi prevent three straight scalps for Ken Kaneki in his 3592-3318 victory and Izayoi Sakamaki defeated Ayumu Aikawa 2848-2613.

In special exhibition play, Lala Satalin Deviluke routed Shirayuki 3565-2387 and Yuki Takeya hung Rin Kohana 3604-2102.

Match Day 4 of the 2015 International Saimoe League Topaz Period is scheduled for October 4, 2015. Vote for your favorite candidates at and join the ongoing debate.