Hawks win big but lose lose McEvoy to injury

Hawthorn have paid a high price for their thumping 63-point AFL win over the Western Bulldogs, with in-form ruckman Ben McEvoy taken to hospital.

McEvoy was one of the Hawks' best in their 19.8 (122) to 9.5 (59) win over the Bulldogs on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

But he was hurt in an accident clash of heads with Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley as they contested a ground ball in the last quarter.

Coach Alastair Clarkson said McEvoy had a suspected fracture of the cheekbone and could need surgery, sidelining him for several weeks.

It is a significant blow to the Hawks' finals hopes, with the win over the Bulldogs putting them briefly back in the top eight ahead.

GWS will take eighth spot from the Hawks on Sunday if they beat West Coast in Perth.

"I don't think we can fudge anything with this one - I think he has a fracture of the cheekbone," Clarkson said of McEvoy.

"If that's the case, he'll probably require surgery and miss whatever weeks are required to get that fixed.

"We don't really know the severity of it - albeit when the doc says you'd better jump in an ambulance ... I'd suggest he's going to miss some games.

"It's unfortunate for us, he was quite influential throughout the course of the game ... he's played some pretty good footy over the course of the year."

Captain Jarryd Roughead led the Hawks brilliantly as they started the post-Cyril Rioli era with the emphatic win.

Earlier this week, Rioli announced his immediate retirement and returned to Darwin for family reasons.

The Hawks' pre-game banner paid tribute to the four-time premiership star, who had not played since round four because of a knee injury.

Fellow small forward Luke Breust was best afield with six goals, equalling his personal best haul, as the Hawks kicked their highest score this season.

But it was Roughead, another four-time premiership Hawk, who sparked them with a mighty third term.

Roughead finished with four goals and six marks and Jack Gunston also kicked four.

The Hawks trailed by two points at half time and it looked like the Bulldogs who might take control, with Jason Johannisen on fire across half-back.

But Hawthorn kicked 7.4 to two behinds in the third term to kill off the match.

"They upped the ante and we couldn't go with them," said Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.

"They surprised us with their intensity and their level of contest in that third quarter and put us on the back foot."

Daniel Howe was instrumental for the Hawks with his shutdown role on Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli.

Howe hurt his knee in a marking contest with Bontempelli just before halftime, but played out the match.

Fiery Hawks defender James Sicily was dragged after giving away a silly 50m penalty in the first term, but he responded with a solid game and took 12 marks.