Aker at 'em as tackling downs the Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aker at 'em as tackling downs the Hawks

By Roger Vaughan 31/05/2008 07:47:51 PM Comments (0)

For the second-straight week, a top AFL side suffered their first loss of the season and the theme was tackling - brutal, you-know-you've-been-tackled, consistent physical pressure.

Collingwood mauled Geelong last weekend and on Saturday the Western Bulldogs also used tackling as an offensive weapon to sack Hawthorn's Fortress Launceston.

Jason Akermanis and Daniel Giansiracusa led the way with seven effective tackles apiece, while the team count was 57-38.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said his side was "trounced" at the stoppages.

"It is as good as you can give back to the team, because you don't have the ball, it's probably the only thing you can do that can help that," Akermanis said.

"I know I missed one really early in the game, but after that it was good.

"I really do pride myself on the tackling and this year it hasn't been as good early in the season - my offence has been fine.

"To get that right, both sides of it ... that's a positive.

"All our guys, that was our biggest focus this week - if you're going to beat this mob, your pressure needs to be up."

Akermanis' tackling was at its best during the critical period midway through the third term, after the Hawks had kicked three goals to draw within eight points.

The Bulldogs first blunted the challenge and then kicked away to lead by 27 points at the final break.

Akermanis had gone into the middle and the Brownlow Medallist laid some fearsome tackles as the Bulldogs withstood the Hawks' pressure.

"In footy, you can beat it up and be fancy with all these kinds of tactics, but if you can't get that right (tackling), you're not going to be competitive," he said.

"That is the most pleasing thing of the day ... the ability and the effort to make the tackles, the guys need to know - that third quarter, that's what kept us in the game."

Akermanis was best afield and is in easily his best form since joining the Bulldogs from Brisbane at the start of last year.

He put on eight kilograms over summer as the team focused on becoming harder at the football.

"If you get stronger, you can take the beatings - but you can also hand it out," he said.

"What you are seeing is a side that has confidence in their bodies, confidence in the physicality and you're seeing results because we're winning the hard ball, we're winning the clearances.

"We're winning the things where last year, we just dropped away too much.

"I don't run as well as I used to, but I've got the power back."

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