The teams that Hawthorn and Fremantle put on to Domain Stadium on Saturday night are shadows of the outfits that battled out the 2013 grand final. But one thing remains the same; the Hawks continue to have the wood on the Dockers.
Hawthorn helped coach Alastair Clarkson celebrate his record 300th game at the club with a 52-point win over the Dockers.
It was the sixth time the sides have played since the Hawks won that premiership and Hawthorn has won five of them.
They booted the first four goals of the game on Saturday night, and while the Dockers fought back a couple of times, they couldn't get the margin back to less than a kick after the opening minute. It was a procession after the midway mark of the third term.
Tom Mitchell was again left alone to rack up possessions and finished with 37, while Jack Gunston's game from half-back was just as good. He had 35 disposals and managed to push forward and kick a goal.
The game won't feature in a list of the top 100 of Clarkson's 300-game coaching career – for importance, or execution of skill and game-plan. But it did continue a terrific run of form for the Hawks since the round 13 bye.
The past five weeks have included wins against Adelaide, Collingwood and now the Dockers, a draw against GWS and a thrilling three-point loss to Geelong, that they should have won.
The Hawks are not trying to hide at home while they regroup and plan their run at the finals, either.
They have shown terrific form on the road. As well as chalking up a win in Perth, that victory against the Crows was in Adelaide and they beat Sydney at the SCG in round 10, when the Swans were four weeks into their resurgence.
The Dockers continue to struggle in front of goals.
Of the five goals they had on the board at three-quarter time, three of them were a direct result of clumsy mistakes by Hawthorn defenders.
Half-way through the second term, they had gone forward 17 times and so had Hawthorn. However, the Hawks led 5.5 to 3.2.
There was no improvement in attack for the Dockers after they kicked 5.14 against West Coast a week earlier.
Connor Blakely was their best contributor, with 29 possessions, while Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale gave the Hawks a headache at clearances. Young ruckman Sean Darcy again looked at place at the top level.
But their loss was compounded by the loss of Michael Walters to injury. The star forward-turned-midfielder limped off the ground at the start of the final term after pulling up short in a marking contest with a left leg injury.
It had been a tough night for him, though and it will be a tough final five weeks for his teammates if he is sidelined for any length of time.
The Dockers have lost seven of past eight games and four of their remaining games against sides likely to play finals this year.
Hawthorn's run isn't as tough, although they do host the red-hot Sydney at the MCG on Friday night, in a game that is now looking as a good test of the Swans legitimacy as a premiership contender.
Early indications though are good for Hawthorn's latest unveiling, rookie Irishman Conor Glass.
The 19-year-old got his first taste early in the opening term when he replaced Luke Hodge, who was forced from the ground with the blood rule.
He didn't look out of place.
Clarkson gave him the chance to play Hodge's role as the general, controlling play across half-back and he didn't mind telling his teammates where he thought they should be standing.
By half-time, he'd gathered 10 touches, including four inside 50s entries. He finished with 15 possessions.
So, Clarkson has now coached Hawthorn for more games than anyone else. His 300th overtook the 299 that club legend John Kennedy snr was at the helm.
For the record, Clarkson now has 187 wins (including 16 finals), while Kennedy finished with 181 victories (including 10 finals). His 171st home and away victory achieved on Saturday night draws him level with Kennedy as the most for the club. It won't be long until Clarkson stands alone on the top of that list based on the way they played in Perth.
By the numbers
HAWTHORN 4.3 6.6 9.9 15.10 (100)
FREMANTLE 2.0 3.4 5.5 7.6 (48)
GOALS - Hawthorn: Howe 2, Roughead 2, Breust 2, Henderson 2, Hartung, McEvoy, Smith, Gunston, Schoenmakers, Burgoyne, O'Brien.
Fremantle: McCarthy 2, Kersten 2, Ballantyne, Fyfe, Nyhuis.
BEST - Hawthorn: Gunston, Mitchell, Sicily, Howe, Breust, Henderson.
Fremantle: Blakely, Neale, Hamling, Fyfe, Darcy, Kersten.
UMPIRES – Ryan, Dalgleish, Margetts.
CROWD – 30,818 at Domain Stadium.
This story first appeared on Brisbane Times.