A stunning result unfolded at the MCG on Saturday night, with Hawthorn and Melbourne playing out the second draw of the season thanks to a last-minute snap from Luke Breust.
It was the first time in 167 meetings, the first of which took place in 1925, that the two sides had recorded a draw.
It was an eerie feeling at the fan-less MCG as the siren sounded, in a battle that was far removed from the expectations of a premiership contender vs. wooden spoon contender.
The result is the continuation of poor results for Melbourne against bottom ranked sides, with the draw now sitting alongside recent losses to Adelaide, Collingwood and GWS.
Trailing by 26 points late in the second quarter, Hawthorn was sparked into action by three successive red time goals to Jacob Koschitzke, Tom Phillips and Luke Bruest.
The Hawks narrowed the deficit to just 11 through two quarters.
The prospect of a stunning upset intensified in the third quarter, with the Hawks suddenly becoming the more dangerous of the two teams with the ball in hand, zipping the footy from end-to-end while more than holding their own in tight. The prolific Tom Mitchell neatly finished on his left at the Punt Road end in the dying minutes of the third quarter to bring the Hawks within one point at the final change.
With all the questions being asked of the suddenly shaky Demons, Mitch Lewis added to the concern by calmly drilling a set shot from the pocket in the first minute to give Hawthorn its first lead of the night.
Consecutive goals to Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett steadied the ship for Melbourne, but the Hawks refused to die, before premiership hero Breust produced the classy snap with 43 seconds left to level the scores and secure the shock draw for the Hawks.
😳 What on earth #AFLDeesHawks
The draw is awesome. Long live the draw! #AFLDeesHawks
Wowee! Second crowdless MCG draw in two years! #AFLDeesHawks
Melbourne speedster Jayden Hunt provided an early highlight, emerging from a congested pack to curl one home from 45 metres out on a slight angle to kick the Demons’ first goal of the night. The Hawks had every reason to feel hard done by however, as Hunt attempted to step around Daniel Howe who stripped him of the football. No whistle was blown, leaving Hunt to scoop up the footy and finish truly. Surely attempting to step around an opponent is prior opportunity.
Future of the Hawks on full display
It’s been a tough season for Hawks fans but a passage from a young trio in the second quarter was just one of many moments that would have brought smiles to their faces. Collecting the ball on half back, James Cousins took two bounces down the members wing before delivering the ball for Emerson Jeka to crash a pack. Cousins then followed up his own work to deliver a pinpoint pass to Koschitzke, who went back and slotted Hawthorn’s third goal of the night, giving fans an exciting glimpse into the future.
Hawthorn’s comeback will give the struggling side a huge confidence boost. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Important Melbourne defender Harrison Petty went down to the rooms in the second quarter, appearing to be touching his hamstring. To the relief of Demons fans, the tall back would re-enter the game minutes later, playing an important role in repelling the Hawks’ persistent attack to finish with nine disposals and four intercepts.
DEMONS 4.4 6.7 9.10 11.13 (79)
HAWKS 1.2 5.2 10.3 12.7 (79)
Demons: Petracca, Oliver, Viney, Salem, Fritsch, Gawn, Petty
Hawks: Mitchell, Worpel, Breust, O’Meara, Phillips
Demons: Fritsch 3, Pickett 2, Brown, Hunt, McDonald, Neal-Bullen, Spargo, Brayshaw
Hawks: Breust 3, Lewis 2, Howe, Koschitzke, McEvoy, Phillips, Worpel, Mitchell, Moore
Hawks: Conor Nash (was at exposure site) replaced in selected side by James Cousins
UMPIRES Power, Stevic, Stephens
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
3 Tom Mitchell (HAW)
2 Christian Petracca (MEL)
1 Clayton Oliver (MEL)
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