Dogs down Hawks to rise into AFL top eight

The Western Bulldogs are in the AFL's top eight after defeating Hawthorn by 36 points at Adelaide Oval.

TOBY MCLEAN of the Bulldogs.
TOBY MCLEAN of the Bulldogs. Picture: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Western Bulldogs utility Toby McLean will miss the AFL finals after suffering a serious knee injury in a Sunday's 36-point demolition of Hawthorn.

The Dogs jumped from 10th to seventh spot with an 11.10 (76) to 6.4 (40) victory at Adelaide Oval.

The Bulldogs will be assured of a finals berth if they beat Fremantle in Cairns next Sunday.

But they'll be without McLean, who is feared to have torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

McLean scored the game's opening goal just 17 seconds in.

Three minutes later, he was on a stretcher after his right knee buckled in a tackle from Hawthorn ruckman Jonathon Ceglar.

McLean is likely to be sent home to Melbourne for scans rather than return to the Dogs' Queensland hub.

"He's a bit of a forlorn figure in the rooms, as are many of his teammates," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

"He's a resilient character, Toby. He has has been through a lot in his life, not just his footy career.

"We will support him. And hopefully, if it is as serious as what it might be, he has still got ... many productive years as a Western Bulldogs player."

The Dogs held an 18-point break at quarter-time, then booted three goals to none in the second term for a 40-point halftime lead, 7.6 to 1.2.

The Hawks showed some pluck in the third quarter, kicking four goals to two, before being outscored by a goal in a tame last term.

"It would have been easy to turn our toes up after the first half," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said after his side's 11th loss in their past dozen games.

"The Bulldogs were a hell of a lot more polished. They are much more experienced and a better side than us right at the present time."

Bulldogs Jason Johannisen, Aaron Naughton and Tim English kicked two goals each while defender Caleb Daniel was superb, collecting 28 disposals including seven inside 50s and a goal.

The Dogs' midfield was also in command, headlined by captain Marcus Bontempelli (28 disposals, 11 clearances), Bailey Smith (25 touches), Jack Macrae (29 possessions) and Tom Liberatore (28 disposals, nine tackles).

Hawthorn stalwart Jack Gunston booted three goals and his teammates Liam Shiels (20 touches) and James Cousins 19 disposals) battled against the tide.