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Hawthorn holds off North Melbourne AFL comeback to win by four points, Geelong and Brisbane score victories


Hawthorn held off a late rally by North Melbourne to score a four-point AFL win at Docklands, after Geelong and Brisbane posted victories earlier in the day.

The listless Kangaroos did not score in the third quarter against the Hawks and even trailed by a match-high 31 points in the final term.

But the Kangaroos, somehow, came storming home with the last four goals of the match to fall agonisingly short — 8.10 (58) to 8.6 (54).

A lively three goal-performance by Chad Wingard looked set to ease the Hawks to a comfortable win before the the Kangaroos sprang to life.

Debutant Tristan Xerri started the ball rolling with his first career goal 12 minutes into the last quarter, Ben Brown kicked his only goal of the night two minutes later, before Cam Zurhaar and Tarryn Thomas followed suit.

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The margin was five points when Curtis Taylor sprayed his shot and Jy Simpkin’s left-foot snap in traffic went the wrong side of the post for Kangaroos supporters with 19 seconds to go.

It was the last score of the night, allowing the Hawks to scrape to a win which had looked well in their keeping.

Wingard’s goal treble was the match-high return, while James Worpel, Liam Shiels and Tom Mitchell were important on the ball for Hawthorn.

The Hawks led by two points at the first break and should have been further than 21 points up midway through the second quarter, such was their dominance through the middle.

Wingard recovered from an earlier bad miss to slot two goals but Shaun Higgins was key as the Kangaroos hit back late to trail by nine points at half-time.

Hawks tall Mitchell Lewis booted the first goal of the third quarter and Shiels snapped the next with a minute to go.

In between those goals — as had so often happened since footy’s restart — a grim stalemate of slow ball movement was the norm, with both teams struggling to generate meaningful forward forays.

The margin blew out to 31 points as Wingard booted his third, before the match underwent its wild fluctuation.

Cats survive frantic finish

Geelong survived a spirited comeback from Melbourne to hold on for a three-point win at the MCG but the result has come at a significant cost, with star defender Tom Stewart suffering a suspected broken collarbone.

The dual All-Australian backman was hurt in an off-the-ball incident involving Tom McDonald, who moved towards Stewart before the pair bumped shoulders in a seemingly innocuous clash.

Stewart came off second best and was ruled out at quarter-time.

It was a sour note for the Cats on a day when they failed to impress but did enough to outlast Melbourne in a dour 7.5 (47) to 6.8 (44) win.

The match did not come alive until the final few minutes, when Cats defender Mark O’Connor’s horror turnover in the back pocket allowed Angus Brayshaw to kick a goal that cut the margin to four points.

Off-season recruit Adam Tomlinson had the chance to win the match for Melbourne in the dying stages but his set shot from 50 metres out drifted just wide.

Two AFL players from Geelong and Melbourne pull on each other's jumper as they look to the sky waiting for the ball.
Geelong’s Darcy Fort (left) had his hands full with Max Gawn all match.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

Cam Guthrie, Joel Selwood, Sam Menegola and Patrick Dangerfield were all busy for Geelong throughout the match, as Darcy Fort and Esava Ratugolea worked hard to prevent Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn from dominating.

The ugly contest produced the lowest-scoring first half of 2020 with few highlights to speak of despite the match being played in perfect conditions.

The Demons looked out of it until the final few minutes when Brayshaw gave them a sniff.

The tough on-baller kicked two majors as the only multiple goal kicker for either side on the day.

Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Christian Petracca were among Melbourne’s best ball-winners and Kysaiah Pickett often looked dangerous in attack without kicking a goal.

Off-target Lions beat Crows

A wayward Brisbane Lions outfit prevailed by 37 points against the struggling Adelaide Crows in an AFL win punctuated by more injury concerns for captain Dayne Zorko.

The Lions dominated to lead by 40 points at half-time at the Gabba, but were almost made to pay for their wastefulness when the winless Crows kicked four-unanswered goals to get within 16 in the third term.

But, after seven consecutive behinds, Brisbane’s Zac Bailey kicked straight and Daniel Rich skipped one through from 60 metres out, as the hosts shot away to a 10.23 (83) to 7.4 (46) win.

Zorko missed last week’s defeat of West Coast with a similar injury and his return was short-lived, limping off to have his calf strapped as half-time loomed.

Lachie Neale (0.5) and Hugh McLuggage (1.5) managed 10 behinds between them to offset an inside-50 count more than double that of their rivals.

A Brisbane Lions AFL player runs with the ball in both hands in front of his teammates against the Adelaide Crows.
Lachie Neale (centre) was among the Lions guilty of wayward kicking on goal.(AAP: Darren England)

A third straight victory moves Brisbane (3-1) to equal second on the ladder behind the unbeaten Port Adelaide. The two teams will face each other at the Gabba next Saturday night.

Crows skipper Rory Sloane looked to roll his ankle but completed the match, while second-gamer Will Hamill (concussion) was a casualty and emerging forward Darcy Fogarty was a late scratching after hurting his shoulder on Friday at training.

Those injuries heaped more misery on a Crows side, flogged last week by Gold Coast and still facing two more weeks in their Queensland hub.

Former Crow Charlie Cameron enjoyed the return of 8,312 vocal spectators, taking a huge final-quarter mark and employing his trademark handlebars celebration after a second goal.

AAP/ABC



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