The Hawthorn Hawks have finally put their demons to rest.
After suffering a shocking defeat in last season's Grand Final, Alastair Clarkson's side came through a hellacious battle with the Fremantle Dockers to take the 2013 AFL premiership by 15 points.
A purple haze had descended upon Victoria during the buildup to the much anticipated match, as Fremantle followers headed to Melbourne in droves to support the team. While Hawthorn were always outlined as heavy favourites, a stunning defensive display in the Dockers previous win over Sydney Swans had invigorated hopes of an upset.
Let's take a look at the score and recap from this year's final.
Having won the toss, Fremantle decided to kick towards the Melbourne Cricket Ground's Perth end. Four minutes after the first bounce, the hosts took the initiative. Bradley Hill's first attempt was fired out of bounds, but before long, Jack Gunston put the Hawks 6-0 with a shot from 20 metres out.
A light smattering of rain invaded the MCG pitch, as Nathan Fyfe and Fremantle's other midfielders looked to bring their side back into the game. Freo's attack tried to probe a way through their energetic opposition, but with 14.10 left the Hawks led 6-1.
Next to score was Lance "Buddy" Franklin after he was awarded a 50-metre penalty. It was Luke McPharlin who initiated the foul after stepping over his mark, providing Buddy with the perfect chance to stretch the scores apart. Hawks were up 13-2 with 7.14 left in the first term.
Quarter Two began with Hawthorn continuing their scoring run. The AFL's No. 1 offensive side made no mistake of pushing the gap to 18, as Franklin's combination with Cyril Rioli was finished off by Gunston, who racked up more points from the 50 metre mark.
Hawks continued their momentum by setting the difference to 24, but at 12:15 in the second period, Tendai Mzungu scored Fremantle's first goal from the right of the field. Five minutes later, Gunston kept his cool to boot the Hawks up by 23.
Freo captain Matthew Pavlich then began to assert his dominance at the beginning of Q3. He scored from 45 metres to cut the deficit, but once again, Clarkson's side responded instantly with a goal of their own. Jarryd Roughead, who is suitably named for an encounter of this magnitude, made no mistakes from Luke Breust's pass.
#AFLGF 3 QTR TIME: Freo 6.10.46 Haw 8.8.56: Great fightback by our boys. We never doubted it would come, but a huge term coming up— Fremantle Dockers (@Fremantle_FC) September 28, 2013
Pavlich popped up with 7.20 on the clock, scoring his second after an opportunistic handball from Zac Clarke. The Dockers captain then thrust a pass to Michael Walters, who just managed to creep the ball in from 35 metres. Hawks led by 10 at this point, with the momentum completely in Fremantle's corner.
Three minutes after Walters' score, Chris Mayne added to the home side's jitters by cutting the gap to three. Just as the Dockers gave themselves a huge chance of winning, Roughead eased Hawthorn's nerves by putting them up by 11.
Walters and Gunston exchanged further goals in Q3, which concluded with the Hawks up by 9.
Quarter Four's first score was always going to be vital, and fortunately for the MCG, it came for Hawthorn. Isaac Smith punted a heroic goal from 55 metres, separating the teams by 17, before Breust and Hill pushed the gap to a game-high of 30.
Fremantle's tremendous spirit still didn't cease. Ross Lyon's team continued to battle with heart and determination throughout, but even when goals from Danyle Pearce and Pavlich reduced the score to 19, Freo's hopes were over.
Hawthorn Hawks win the 2013 AFL Grand Final with a score of 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62).