HAWTHORN HAWKS HAVE booked their place in the 2012 AFL Grand Final by defeating Adelaide by five points at the MCG on Saturday.
After trailing by as many as 22 points late in the third quarter, Adelaide remarkably fought back to kick four goals in a row and snatch a one-point lead at the 21-minute mark of the final term.
But goals from Cyril Rioli and Lance Franklin were just enough for Hawthorn to hang on for the 13.19 (97) to 14.8 (92) victory.
Rioli (26 touches and two goals), Franklin (20 and three), Sam Mitchell (29), Brad Sewell (28), Luke Breust (23 and two) and Jordan Lewis (23) were the best for Hawthorn who did without inspirational skipper Luke Hodge (illness) after he was a late withdrawal.
For the brave Crows, Kurt Tippett played one of the games of his career after a quiet finals series with 16 touches, 11 marks (seven contested) and four goals.
Taylor Walker also kicked four majors while Scott Thompson (31 touches), Patrick Dangerfield (28), Jason Porplyzia (26), Bernie Vince (21) and Rory Sloane (20) played their hearts out.
The usually slick, precise Hawthorn were for the most part sloppy with their skill level and appeared jittery at times on the big stage particularly up forward as they comprehensively won the inside 50 count (64-38) but struggled to find reward.
At various stages when it looked like the Hawks were about to put the result to bed, Adelaide gallantly kept responding and never gave in.
But ultimately, the Hawks did enough to earn a spot in the 2012 decider against the Sydney Swans.