AFL Grand Final 2015: Hawthorn Beat West Coast to Win Three Premierships in a Row
Hawthorn entered the conversation to be considered one of the greatest AFL teams in history after securing its third consecutive premiership with a thumping 46-point win against West Coast on Saturday the 3rd of October.
The Hawks were never truly threatened by a disappointing Eagles outfit which wasted early chances and never recovered.
“I’m lost for words, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge said.
After keeping its nose in front with accurate kicking in the first term, Hawthorn took over from that point to produce another display of champagne footy on the game’s biggest stage.
Cyril Rioli won the Norm Smith Medal for an incredibly impactful game forward of centre. He kicked two goals, took 12 marks and giftwrapped several other opportunities to teammates to edge Sam Mitchell (34 disposals) for the award.
Rioli dedicated the win to his cousin Fabian Brock, a 25 year old Northern Territory man who was killed by a gunshot to the head while driving in June this year. “This one’s for you, Brocky,” said Rioli, after receiving his medal on the premiership podium.
Rioli added another chapter to indigenous Australia’s storied association with the best-on-ground honour, joining his uncles Maurice Rioli (Richmond, 1982) and Michael Long (Essendon, 1993) as a winner. He was presented his medal by two-time winner Andrew McLeod.
“I had a lot of help out there today, I was accepting that for all the boys,” Rioli said.
Isaac Smith was another riddle the Eagles couldn’t solve while Jack Gunston kicked four goals in a Grand Final for the second time. “It’s brilliant. It’s what we’ve been working for all year. I’m over the moon,” Smith said.
But the Hawks defence was just as impressive. James Frawley validated his signing in free agency last year by keeping Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy goalless for the first time this season while Brian Lake produced another quality Grand Final.
The Hawks older heads — including Shaun Burgoyne, Hodge, Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis and Josh Gibson — were all quality and rammed home the fact this team is still significantly better than any other side in the competition.
After a 63-point win in last year’s decider against Sydney, the Hawks proved the rest of the AFL failed to close the gap in 2015.
“I couldn’t be prouder of you boys,” Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson told his players before accepting the premiership cup.
The teams did battle in the hottest Grand Final on record after the temperature topped 30.8C midway through the opening quarter.