Ball magnet Tom Mitchell has inspired Hawthorn to an upset 14-point victory against AFL ladder-leaders Adelaide.
Mitchell collected 38 disposals and kicked a clutch goal as the Hawks won 14.12 (96) to 12.10 (82) on Thursday night at Adelaide Oval.
Emerging star Ryan Burton, Shaun Burgoyne, Paul Puopolo, ex-Crow Ricky Henderson and Tim O’Brien kicked two goals each for the unfancied Hawks.
Adelaide (nine wins, four losses) blew a chance to consolidate at the top of the table – they led in the last quarter but couldn’t close the deal.
Instead, Hawthorn’s Puopolo, Adelaide discard Henderson and the influential Burgoyne kicked the last goals of the game for a stirring win for the visitors.
“It wasn’t a pretty game … we needed to compete really well,” Hawk coach Alastair Clarkson said.
“We did that for the best part of the night which was really pleasing.”
Henderson (30 disposals) was prominent in Hawthorn’s fifth win, with ball-winner Mitchell’s midfield colleagues Burgoyne (26 disposals) and Liam Shiels (21 touches) also busy.
They helped stifle a Crows side overly reliant on brothers Matt and Brad Crouch, who had 64 disposals between them.
Rory Atkins (28 possessions), link-man Tom Lynch and Rory Laird (28 disposals) battled gamely while Josh Jenkins kicked three goals.
But the Crows were on the back foot from the start – Hawk stalwarts Burgoyne and Jarryd Roughead goaled inside four minutes.
Adelaide, before a 45,312-strong home crowd, drew level by quarter-time, 4.2 apiece, and their vaunted attack found fluency in the second stanza with keys Taylor Walker and Jenkins kicking two majors each.
Their scoring helped Adelaide craft an 18-point halftime advantage and the competition pacesetters appeared in control.
But the plucky Hawks rallied after the break, booting three consecutive goals – the last two uplifting on-the-run efforts by Burton, giving the visitors a two-point lead.
Adelaide’s Hugh Greenwood, a former NBL player turning in his best AFL game, replied as the Crows went five points ahead at three-quarter time.
But new Hawk Henderson, in his 100th AFL game and against his former club, and the influential Mitchell goaled before Andy Otten struck back for the Crows.
After a tense scrap of behinds, Hawthorn veteran Puopolo converted for a seven-point break before Henderson and Burgoyne struck the sealers.
“It was a disappointing night,” Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.
“Our execution tonight was miles off the level (required).”