Crows, Hawks fly in harmony - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows, Hawks fly in harmony

By Daniel Brettig and Sam Lienert 13/06/2008 06:54:26 PM Comments (0)

Unlike the recent spat between Carlton and Port Adelaide, there was not a verbal barb to be thrown between Adelaide and Hawthorn on Friday.

Neil Craig and Alistair Clarkson went to great lengths to compliment the team structures each other have set-up at the Crows and Hawks respectively.

Yet it is the individual brilliance of one player - giant Hawk Lance Franklin - that looms largest over an AFL top-four fixture for which AAMI Stadium will be packed to the rafters on Saturday night.

There is a lot of Craig's Adelaide in the way Hawthorn have set themselves up: as a footballing machine drilled comprehensively in a rolling zone that suffocates opponents before allowing the Hawks to spring brilliantly into attack once they win the ball.

Likewise there is much respect from Adelaide for the way Clarkson's Hawks have developed into a team utilising the correct mix of consistent role-playing performers and stars like Franklin and Luke Hodge.

Clarkson spoke of the Crows in 2008 as though they are much the same as the 2005 and 2006 preliminary finalist models, this time with younger, fresher players in place of the likes of Mark Ricciuto.

"They've had a couple of superstars go out of their system over the last couple of years, Ricciuto being the most notable," Clarkson said.

"To their great credit they've been able to inject some young players into their system this year and just carried on, such is the discipline of the roles that they play and their structure, their game plan, the way they're coached.

"It doesn't surprise us that they've started so well."

Craig also used discipline as his key word in describing the Hawks, emphasising the planning and structure that has worked brilliantly to direct the ball towards Franklin, Jarryd Roughead, Mark Williams et al this year.

"I find them a really disciplined side in that if they're allowed to set their zone, they're very good at it, at holding it, so our challenge is to not let that get set, and if it does show some patience to get through it or around it," Craig said.

"If you want to break it you've got to be carefully trying to break it with handball - you need precision kicking."

Adelaide's share will be pushed towards Luke Jericho and Kurt Tippett, Jericho cast as this week's Brett Burton while Tippett fights for contested marks or simply to ground the ball for crumbers like Richard Douglas.

Hawthorn accounted comfortably for a flat-looking Adelaide in Launceston earlier this year, but have not beaten the Crows at home since 1994, when the then fading Hawks powerhouse of the 1980s and early 90s pummelled the fourth year Crows by 97 points on a Sunday afternoon.

That day it was John Platten (37 touches, six goals) and Jason Dunstall (nine goals) who dominated, and Clarkson must hope for similar from Franklin on Saturday night.

"We understand why (there's hype), because of Lance's record against just about every club this year apart from maybe Richmond and Melbourne," Craig said.

"We respect that and we also understand what he's been able to do against us in the past.

"We need to try and nullify what he does because often their winning score correlates pretty well with what Lance Franklin has been able to kick."

Ben Rutten and Nathan Bock are both likely to spend time opposing Franklin.

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