Hawthorn will head into its midseason break with a ninth win and greater confidence in the depth of the club's playing list, with some senior players to soon return from injury.
While the Hawks will not rush Cyril Rioli back from his hamstring injury – while he could return straight after the break, coach Alistair Clarkson said he could miss as many as four more matches – the likes of Brendon Whitecross and Xavier Ellis will also return sooner rather than later.
Sam Grimley, Taylor Duryea and Max Bailey are among the players who have made an impact at stages this season, having spent three or more seasons developing, and Clarkson said more were awaiting their chance.
Demon Lynden Dunn is unable to prevent another Hawthorn goal. Photo: Joe Armao JAA
"Those boys weren't ready, for a whole number of reasons, in the last two or three years. We couldn't reach for those guys to bring into the side, but at the current point in time we can and they're ready to go," Clarkson said, after Hawthorn's 95-point defeat of Melbourne.
"That's really pleasing for us. We can't bring them all in at the one time – just when we can – and Grimley and Duryea in particular have shown that they can play at the level, which is pleasing for us because if we need to go to them in the next few weeks we can.
"But we've got three or four others as well that are just waiting for their chance." Having travelled several times already this season, Clarkson was satisfied to reach the break with nine wins and one loss, with the Hawks next due to play Carlton on the Friday night of round 12.
AFL Round 10: Melbourne v Hawthorn
Hawthorn's Grant Birchell and Lance Franklin celebrate a goal. Photo: Joe Armao
The players will have a few days off this week before returning next weekend to prepare for that match.
"It's difficult because, particularly the last three games, you're expected to win by big margins and our boys have worked so hard throughout the course of the year and it doesn't always pan out the way you'd like at times," Clarkson said.
"But we worked really well across the summer, put ourselves in a position where we could tackle the first part of the year and we're pleased to be in the position we're at.
"We still think there's some improvement in the way that we play, but we've just been a little bit unsettled the last two or three weeks with some changes to our side.
"That affects the way we'd like to play, but we've given some young kids an opportunity and that's really pleasing for the depth of our side and to recognise and acknowledge the work that they've done at the lower grade to give themselves an opportunity to play AFL footy."