Buddy focus hurts Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Buddy focus hurts Hawks

By Sam Lienert 17/08/2008 07:06:21 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Terry Wallace believes Hawthorn might be getting "Buddy-centric" as superstar Lance Franklin approaches the 100-goal mark, but Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson is unperturbed.

Franklin went into Sunday's MCG clash with the Tigers on 91 goals and he briefly seemed on track for the nine-goal haul needed to become the first player in a decade to reach the ton in a home and away season.

He kicked two stunning goals in the first term, the first a left-foot banana kick which he rolled through from the right flank, the second a set shot from the intersection of the 50m arc and the boundary on the left flank.

But his goal-shooting became increasingly wayward and he finished the day with 3.6, as well as a shot out on the full, with another falling short from 40m.

Franklin's inaccuracy, combined with the Hawks' persistence in going to him, played into the Tigers' hands, as Hawthorn finished with 10.16 to botch their chances of a comeback.

Wallace was surprised that Jarryd Roughead, who has hurt the Tigers badly on previous occasions, was not used closer to goal, and no Hawk apart from Franklin had more than three shots.

The Tigers coach suggested Franklin's teammates desire to see him crack the 100 might have had a subtle effect.

"They put a few eggs in that basket today," Wallace said.

"The bloke's nine goals off 100, when the opposition know that they're in a finals campaign, I don't think they do it on purpose, I think players do it as a natural thing that they want to see this bloke who's looked after them so much, they want to look after him and give him something back."

But Clarkson doubted the speculation over whether Franklin would reach the milestone, or the focus on his erratic kicking, was having an effect.

"It's not a focus for us and I don't think it's too much of a focus for him either at the present time," Clarkson said.

"We just want to generate enough footy into our forward line to give ourselves a chance to kick a big enough score.

"If he's on the end of them, great, if he's not it doesn't concern us too much."

With Carlton's Brendan Fevola kicking six against North Melbourne today to move to 90, just four behind Franklin, it sets the scene for a Coleman Medal showdown between the two star forwards when those sides meet in the final round.

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