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Highly rated Hawks need to hit ground running

Richmond, it was said, simply had to get over the line last Thursday night against Carlton, its psyche dented by too many demoralising season-opening losses to the Blues.

Live blog with Rohan Connolly from noon. Leave your comments here.

That's questionable, given there are still 21 games left this season to retrieve any damage, but surely Hawthorn's clash with Geelong on Monday is no less important an occasion for the Hawks as was last week's for the Tigers.

It may sound strange of a side officially premiership favourite, with a list the envy of most rivals and brilliantly coached, but the Hawks go into the new season not only needing to break their run of nine straight losses to the Cats, but needing to make a sizeable statement.

Rightly or not, Hawthorn's 10-point grand final loss to Sydney in its last official outing has confirmed a popular impression of a team that can't clinch the deal when it counts. And that reputation has been founded largely on those losses to Geelong, seven of them by nine points or less, too many of those after the Hawks had set up what might have been game-winning leads.

But this game is about more than just the Cats. In a year in which there seems far more legitimate flag chances than usual, scope for further improvement will be crucial, and you do wonder whether there's more potential for that from the likes of West Coast, Fremantle, Collingwood, perhaps even a Sydney with the latter-season addition of Kurt Tippett, than from the Hawks.

While Brian Lake is a significant addition to the mix defensively, Matt Suckling's rebound is equally as significant a loss. In midfield, the drivers remain the names Mitchell, Sewell, Lewis and, of course, Hodge, who again goes into a season underdone.

You could argue that of Hawthorn as a whole, given its at-times lacklustre pre-season.

No one doubts Hawthorn is capable enough. But it needs to hit the high gears straightaway this time.

6 comments so far

  • No mention that the Hawks will also be "a month behind" in their preparation?

    I mean, that's all anyone seems to say about the Swans, and the Hawks played a grand final too.

    Don't wish to sound paranoid, but I still sometimes think some people (even Rohan, whose perceptions I respect immensely) subconsciously think Sydney somehow "stole" the premiership and will soon be found out for the pretenders they are.

    I beg to differ, if so.

    Commenter
    Rory
    Date and time
    April 01, 2013, 9:51AM
    • "Brilliantly Coached"???? You cant be serious Rohan. Clarko has no idea on game day match ups and one on one tactics come the Big games & Finals. Every time he is exposed as a 'systems' coach whom all the other coaches go to school on. He has lost Hawthorn more big games from the box with his 'one dimensional' thinking than I care to remember. With that squad he should have at least another 2 flags under his belt. Time for you media types to wake up and see the big picture!!!

      Commenter
      procrastinator
      Location
      bendigo
      Date and time
      April 01, 2013, 3:43PM
      • Hawthorn are a team of champions but definitely not a champion team. It takes a coach with nous and game day intuition to get a team to gel together at the right time and in the right way. Hawthorns style will always fail in the big games because it mimmicks its coach. He Chokes when the heat is on & is lacking in emotional maturity!

        Commenter
        procrastinator
        Location
        bendigo
        Date and time
        April 01, 2013, 3:52PM
        • Groundhog day again. Yep. So much for 'The past means nothing" Clarko!!! Until you learn from it and start shutting down selwood & Chapman with hard Ling-style tags we will never beat them! Your new name is "Choke in the Box"!!! Man in denial 4 sure. No premiership with this bloke in charge. He hasnt a clue!!!

          Commenter
          procrastinator
          Location
          bendigo
          Date and time
          April 01, 2013, 6:17PM
          • Not a brilliant coach at all. Poor under pressure and a team of footballers who can't think their way through pressure ( apart from Mitchell, Hodge and Burgoyne). Hence Geelong and Sydney's ability to regularly beat them.

            Commenter
            Clackers
            Date and time
            April 01, 2013, 7:01PM
            • Clarkson & Choking are becoming synonyous. It began in Pre-Lim' v. Pies 2011. He doesn't seem able to coach them for 4 quarters, sometimes 3 or just 2 as per Grand Final. Whitecross & Suckling are big losses, coupled with a poor pre-season, as you say Rohan. Coaching must be an incredibly tough task, but when Clarkson mentioned how Jeans only got one flag out of a great list at St.Kilda in the 60's we are hearing his demons speaking. He knows he's not delivering with this great list. I can't ever remember Franklin & Roughead featuring in the votes in the same game. Maybe needs to re-invent one of them into a defensive leader. Chris Mew had as much to do with hawthorne's golden era as Brereton. Suspect with their draw Hawks will end about 6th or 7th this year. Looking at Pies, Eagles, Dockers, Cats, Swans to finish higher.

              Commenter
              Glide By
              Location
              Sth melbourne
              Date and time
              April 01, 2013, 7:48PM

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