DEMONS exorcised, new memories created, dreams becoming reality, months of toil delivering the ultimate reward.
Hawthorn is today celebrating the 11th premiership in its 89-year VFL-AFL history with a dogged 15-point win against Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
The 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62) triumph went some way to vanquishing the demons of the 2012 decider, when the Hawks succumbed against an up-and-about Sydney.
Warrnambool export Jordan Lewis and Colac pair Luke Hodge and Jonathan Simpkin played their roles to perfection in front of 100,007, 11 short of the ground capacity.
Lewis, 27, was the Hawks’ second-most prolific ball user, collecting 25 touches, taking eight marks and laying four tackles.
Hodge, 29, was the general across half-back and, with Norm Smith medallist Brian Lake, helped keep the Dockers to just 1.6 to half-time.
The captain had 21 disposals and, like Lewis, was deservedly among the best players.
And Simpkin, 25, the fringe player who received a call-up after a season-ending knee injury to Brendan Whitecross, came on as a substitute at three-quarter-time.
He finished with six disposals and helped wind down the clock as the Hawks — his third AFL club — closed in on a historic flag.
On the flipside, there was no joy for Shepparton boy Michael Barlow, whose family, including Warrnambool-based brother Herb, cheered him from the stands.
Barlow was among the Dockers’ best and had 21 disposals but will spend the summer contemplating what might have been.