Sports

Hawthorn extends Port Adelaide’s ‘disastrous start’ with shock 64-point win


Hawthorn has extended its brilliant start under new coach Sam Mitchell, recording the first major upset of the 2022 season with a 64-point demolition job of Port Adelaide.

Coming off the back of a hard-fought win over North Melbourne in round one, Mitchell’s Hawks never trailed at the Adelaide Oval, running out 19. 6. (120) to 7. 14. (56) winners.

Hawthorn’s forward line looked lethal with the return of veteran goalkicker Luke Breust, who kicked three goals.

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Breust’s inclusion allowed young forward Mitch Lewis to explode for a five-goal haul, while fellow triple premiership star Jack Gunston also added three majors, as the absence of injured All-Australian defender Aliir Aliir showed in Port Adelaide’s backline.

The Power’s loss came despite the team having the game’s four highest ball-winners, with the evergreen Travis Boak leading all players with 39 disposals. Tom Mitchell recorded Hawthorn’s highest with 28 disposals.

Despite racking up disposals, Port Adelaide was unable to convert the dominance in possession into goals, as the struggle to score continued without the presence of Charlie Dixon.

“He’d (Port Adelaide coach, Ken Hinkley) be fuming,” former Hawks premiership star Jordan Lewis said on Fox Footy’s coverage.

“Home deck, a loss last week, preliminary finalists last year. It’s a disastrous start.”

Hinkley opted for the tall trio of Mitch Georgiades, Todd Marshall and off-season recruit Jeremy Finlayson in Dixon’s absence, and the trio were held goalless.

“We get it, Charlie Dixon is out, he’s always been the main focal point. There’s always been discussions around if they go to Dixon too often. They’re starting to see a forward line without Dixon,” Lewis said.

“I feel like they’re launching from too deep, you love to get that extra handball to get into a position where the Hawthorn defenders have to make a decision, do they come forward or retreat to go on their man.

“Right now those long kicks inside forward 50 are so easy to mop up and read, and the defenders have got time to drop off and impact in the air.”

Port will hope to break its duck when it faces Adelaide in a Showdown clash in round 3, while Hawthorn will face Carlton in a battle of unbeaten teams at the MCG.

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