AFL: Hawks grind out win over brave Dockers

The Hawks celebrates with the Premiership Cup after winning the 2013 AFL Grand Final. Photo / Getty Images
The Hawks celebrates with the Premiership Cup after winning the 2013 AFL Grand Final. Photo / Getty Images

They're known as the family club and that's how the celebrations started as Hawthorn won their 11th AFL premiership.

Minutes after beating Fremantle by 15 points in a grinding grand final at the MCG, victorious players such as Norm Smith Medallist Brian Lake, captain Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell ran to the boundary line.

They picked up their young children and gleefully brought them into the on-field celebrations.

It was relief as much as joy, because this was the premiership Hawthorn had to win.

The Hawks continued their astonishing run of success on Saturday when they withstood Fremantle's brave second half.

They are the only club to have won at least one premiership per decade since the 1960s.

But serious questions would have been asked of Hawthorn and their coach Alastair Clarkson had they not won this flag.

They were coming off last year's epic grand final loss to Sydney and had dominated the season to finish top.

Hawthorn nearly kicked themselves out of last week's preliminary final, but this time Fremantle were ruing their inaccuracy with the 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62) scoreline.

Four Dockers shots went out on the full and they wasted late chances, kicking 2.4 in the final quarter.

This is the Hawks' second flag in Clarkson's nine-year reign, following the upset 2008 grand final win over Geelong.

There was speculation this week that Clarkson could go to West Coast after the grand final.

He is going nowhere.

The other big-name Hawk who might be leaving is star forward Lance Franklin.

He is now a free agent and Greater Western Sydney have targeted him with a godfather-like offer.

Wet and windy conditions combined with a ton of pressure meant a scrappy game, played in front of 100,007 fans.

Fremantle only kicked one goal to halftime and trailed by 23 points, but inevitably they roared back into contention in the third term.

Twice they reduced the margin to only three points, but they were never able to hit the front.

The Hawks steadied to lead by 10 points at the final change and then secured the flag with a three-goal burst early in the last term.

While this is Ross Lyon's third grand final loss - he had two at St Kilda - he has done an outstanding job in two years at the Dockers.

Fremantle were far from disgraced and they will be back.

But late on Saturday afternoon, the MCG was all brown and gold.

- AAP

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