HAWTHORN has all but snuffed out Gold Coast’s AFL finals hopes, holding off a final-quarter Suns fightback for a seven-point win in the milestone match of skipper Ben McEvoy.
Veteran Hawk Jack Gunston picked up five goals in Launceston on Saturday afternoon in the 10.10 (70) to 8.15 (63) result in McEvoy’s 250th appearance.
Despite leading at each change, the Hawks had some nervous moments late with the Gold Coast virtually setting up camp in their half.
Trailing by 17 at three-quarter time, the Suns kicked the opening two goals of the fourth term and got within a goal with about five minutes left on the clock.
The Gold Coast were left to rue several muffed opportunities in the final quarter, with big man Mabior Chol and rookie Mac Andrew missing gettable set shots.
McEvoy picked up a crucial mark in defence inside the final two minutes as the Hawks scrambled for their eighth win of the year despite scoring just one point in the last term.
The result leaves the Suns in 11th position on the ladder, two wins outside the top eight with two rounds remaining and a host of teams above them still to play in round 21.
Gunston was on fire early, picking up four of his five goals before halftime.
The Suns were slow out of the blocks and took until the 21st minute to register their opening major but trailed by just eight at the first break.
Hawthorn pulled ahead in the second term with three goals straight, including Gunston’s third which was shortly followed by a fourth on the run, for a 21-point halftime lead.
Hawthorn’s Jarman Impey was put on report in the third quarter for contact on Darcy Macpherson after he kicked the ball following a mark.
Despite having the breeze at their back in the all-important third term, the Suns could only equal Hawthorn’s two goals.
Suns’ livewire small forward Izak Rankine picked up 11 disposals amid reports the Adelaide Crows have offered the 22-year-old a $4 million deal over five years.
(C) AAP 2022