Clarkson confident Hawks can set pace - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarkson confident Hawks can set pace

By Robert Grant 16/08/2008 12:02:04 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is confident the club will continue to be an AFL pacesetter into the future after tying up a core group of key players.

Clarkson said the re-signing of stars including Chance Bateman and Jarryd Roughead this week was vital to the side's plans to produce a league powerhouse.

The trio, along with Mark Williams, Robert Campbell, Brent Renouf, Jarryd Morton and Mitch Thorp have all committed for at least the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

This follows the lead of captain Sam Mitchell and full-forward Lance Franklin who committed themselves earlier this year.

Clarkson said the Hawks had deliberately modelled their program on recent premiership sides and the benefits could already be seen.

"That was our whole focus going into the 2004 draft, that we'd put together over two or three drafts a group of young players who could hopefully play a lot of footy together," Clarkson said on Saturday.

"We've studied a lot of premiership sides over recent times and that has certainly been their experience.

"You bring a lot of young kids in to the group at a similar sort of time and then have them grow and build together.

"Geelong did that themselves through `99, 2000 and 2001 - they injected some really talented players into their footy club and now they're getting full benefit from that.

"That's been a really good model for us to follow and we think, with some of these guys committing to the footy club for the long term, that hopefully it's a platform for sustained success."

Hawthorn take on Richmond at the MCG on Sunday and are wary of the Tigers after escaping with a 12-point win in round six.

"We've had some good contests against the Tigers over the last two or three years and we'd expect the same tomorrow," Clarkson said.

"Any side that's got Matty Richardson and (Troy) Simmonds and those type of guys in their side is a very formidable opponent.

"Kane Johnson's been in really good form, Shane Tuck has really improved as a player over the course of the last 18 months and they've brought a couple of really exciting youngsters into their mix in the last season-and-a-half."

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