Dixon responded to a week of ridicule with an imposing four-goal haul in Port’s crushing 13.20 (98) to 7.5 (47) win last night.
A week ago, Dixon blew a chance of sealing a Port win in Geelong by taking too long for a set shot at goal – and his side lost.
But against the Hawks he was instrumental in a fast start for Port, kicking the initial two goals of the game and setting up the third.
Port piled on 6.5 as Hawthorn were kept scoreless in an opening quarter for the first time in 11 years.
The Hawks, wilting under the Power’s heat, couldn’t muster a goal in an opening half for the first time since 2009 – with their three points their lowest top-flight first-half total in their history.
Port crafted a match-defining 9.8 to 0.3 halftime lead before Hawthorn’s first goal came three minutes into the third quarter when James Sicily scored from a relayed free kick.
The error-prone Hawks were overwhelmed by a ferocious Power, who marked stalwart Brad Ebert’s 200th AFL game in style.
Ebert was superb in the opening-half onslaught – he had 21 disposals by halftime and 34 for the match.
Teammates Jared Polec (24 possessions), Matthew Broadbent (24 touches), Ollie Wines (28 disposals) and Brendan Ah Chee (25 touches) were also influential ball-winners.
Dixon was the dominant forward force on the ground and his lively attacking colleague Jarman Impey booted 2.4.
Port entrenched themselves in the top eight with a sixth win of the season but Hawthorn (four wins, seven losses) remain in the mire.
Sicily, Luke Breust and skipper Jarryd Roughead kicked two goals each for the lacklustre visitors, while midfielder Tom Mitchell (30 disposals), Luke Hodge (27 touches) and Ryan Burton (25 possessions) battled gamely.
Port coach Ken Hinkley praised Dixon’s character to perform strongly after spending a week under an unwanted spotlight.
“The good part about Charlie from the criticism is he doesn’t read it,” Hinkley said.
“He doesn’t actually even look at it. He said ‘I didn’t actually know that anything was said’… I think he was put on display for everyone else to learn a lesson.”
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said he couldn’t explain his side’s horror first half.
“We couldn’t have had a worse start,” Clarkson said.
“They had the game on their terms.”
Clarkson concedes his once-mighty club has fallen from AFL premiership contention with four wins and seven losses, but maintains his playing group will be flag contenders – he’s just not sure when.
“I’m really confident those boys will be able to do it,” he said.
“When that is, it might take a little bit of time. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be this year.
“But we’re not going to give up on the year.
“And everything we do, whether it’s this year or next year, is all geared towards helping us compete for silverware again.”
Clarkson conceded the season was proving “a difficult period” for his Hawks.
“For Hawthorn fans and perhaps the wider football community, it’s just like ‘oh, what has happened to Hawthorn’,” he said.
“But it’s the closeness of the competition and it’s what the competition is designed for in a sense – that it’s difficult to stay at the top for a long, long period of time.
“We have been pretty good at being able to do it.
“But we are just finding it at the minute a real challenge to get everything going for us… but it hasn’t softened our resolve.”
Hawthorn’s heavy loss to Port came on the club’s second consecutive away trip – and successive six-day breaks.
“You don’t usually get dealt that sort of blow in the course of a home-and-away fixture … what can you do about it,” Clarkson said.
“It’s no point talking too much about it.
“We need to be better than what we were in the first quarter so it’s not anything to do with the fixture really, it just makes it a little bit harder for you, that’s all.”
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