Iron-willed Hawthorn derailed the Geelong juggernaut to win their 10th AFL premiership today.
The Cats came into the grand final having won 42 of their last 44 matches and chasing back-to-back flags for the first time in more than half a century.
But it was the Hawks who flew highest, booting 13 goals to six after quarter-time to win 18.7 (115) to 11.23 (89) before an MCG crowd of 100,012, the biggest for a grand final since 1986.
The Hawks had heroes everywhere, none more so than former skipper Shane Crawford, who finally tasted the ultimate triumph in his 305th game.
Luke Hodge was a deserving winner of the Norm Smith medal as the best player on the field, marshalling the defence in superb style.
And former Port Adelaide premiership player Stuart Dew fully vindicated the decision of coach Alastair Clarkson to coax him out of retirement, capping a strong game with two memorable third-quarter goals.
The Hawks could even afford a quiet performance from spearhead Lance Franklin, who kicked two goals and was well beaten by Cats fullback Matthew Scarlett.
The victory came 12 years after Hawthorn only narrowly avoided a merger with Melbourne and only four years after they finished second-bottom on the ladder.
It was their first premiership in 17 years and their 10th overall, pulling them level with Richmond.
Only Carlton, Essendon, Collingwood and Melbourne have claimed more VFL/AFL flags.
Geelong had won the only previous encounter between the two sides this year by 11 points back in round 17.
But today, the short-priced favourites had no answer to Hawthorn’s uncompromising attack on both the ball and any Geelong players who happened to get in the way.
The Cats were not helped by inaccuracy in front of goal, although 11 of their behinds were rushed by Hawthorn defenders.
Five days after finishing a close third in the Brownlow Medal, Gary Ablett was far and away Geelong’s best player.
It was the first all-Victorian grand final since Essendon beat Melbourne by 10 goals in 2000.