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Clarkson hits out at draw as Hawks rue tough start

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HAWTHORN'S tough draw to start the season has displeased coach Alastair Clarkson, who says the competition is compromising its integrity.

But Clarkson acknowledges he can't do anything about it. The Hawks are 2-3 after yesterday's defeat by the Swans and have what appears to be an easier road ahead after games against grand finalists Geelong and Collingwood, plus Adelaide, West Coast and Sydney to start the 2012 season.

''The one thing that we do compromise in our game is the integrity of the competition and that's because we compromise our draw,'' he said. ''But it is what it is. You can't do anything about it and we deal with what we have to deal with. All we know at this point in time is we've got a critical game against St Kilda next week.''

The Hawks have St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Richmond, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide and Brisbane Lions in the run-up to the bye, all winnable games.

''Everyone knows that the draw's compromised,'' said Clarkson. ''We can't do anything about it. All we can do is try to win every game that we're capable of winning and see if we can get enough wins at the end of the year to finish in the finals and finish as high as [we] can to give ourselves a chance.''

The Hawks must play flag contenders Geelong, Collingwood, West Coast and Sydney twice. Of the teams not expected to get close to the finals, Hawthorn plays only Port Adelaide twice.

Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold told The Age last week of his concerns about the fixtures and said his team had as tough a draw as any.

While fellow finals contenders North Melbourne and Adelaide play Gold Coast and GWS twice, the Hawks, along with the other top five teams of last season, play each of the new teams once.

Premiership favourite Carlton, meanwhile, only has to play Collingwood twice from last season's top four.