ALARM bells are ringing for Collingwood after Hawthorn made a superb late charge to prevail by four points at the MCG and consign the Magpies to consecutive AFL losses.
Friday’s clash had all the makings of a dour Magpies win before the Hawks flipped the script in the final quarter, notching four straight goals on the way to a well-deserved 9.13 (67) to 9.9 (63) victory in front of 66,407 fans.
Second-gamer Oliver Hanrahan and fellow rookie Mitchell Lewis played key roles in the Hawks’ resurgence, each finishing with two goals, while defender James Sicily was best-afield with 28 disposals and 14 marks.
Serious doubts will linger about the Magpies’ premiership credentials after another lacklustre performance.
Coach Nathan Buckley pointedly questioned his players’ physical efforts in a 44-point loss to North Melbourne last week, which he labelled embarrassing.
Their performance in a game Hawthorn largely dominated was hardly the response for which he would have hoped.
The Pies led at every break but it was thanks largely to their efficiency in front of goal, with the Hawks squandering plenty of chances.
Led brilliantly by Sicily and Isaac Smith (25 disposals), Hawthorn eventually got on top in the final term after trailing by 10 points at three-quarter time.
Lewis put the Hawks ahead for the first time with a cool set shot from 45m out midway through the quarter, followed by Hanrahan kicking his second.
Will Hoskin-Elliott’s mark and goal with two minutes left got the Magpies back within a goal, but the Hawks won the ensuing centre clearance and hung on to snap a four-game losing streak and move to 11th on the ladder.
The Pies will be left to lament some dreadful skill errors with equal-leading possession winner Adam Treloar (31 touches) among the worst culprits.
Small forward Jamie Elliott, playing in his first game in two months, managed just seven disposals and appeared off the pace.
Mason Cox (one goal) also had a night to forget, dropping several easy marks including one directly in front of goal in the final term.
The Pies come up against their 2018 grand-final conquerors West Coast at Optus Stadium next Friday, having lost their last four games against the Eagles.
They then take on GWS in Sydney before a Round 19 showdown with Richmond at the MCG in what shapes as a season-defining period.
Hawthorn’s Daniel Howe will face match review scrutiny for a second-quarter incident in which he kneed Scott Pendlebury in the head while pinned.
© AAP 2019
HAWTHORN 1.5 3.8 4.9 9.13 (67)
COLLINGWOOD 4.0 5.4 6.7 9.9 (63)
Goals: Hawthorn: L Breust 2 M Lewis 2 O Hanrahan 2 B Hardwick B McEvoy J Worpel. Collingwood: J de Goey 2 W Hoskin-Elliott 2 A Treloar B Mihocek B Sier J Daicos M Cox. Umpires: Simon Meredith, Robert Findlay, Craig Fleer.
Official Crowd: 66,407 at MCG.