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Hawks 'not daunted by grand final'

26/09/2008 06:48:40 PM Comments (0)

Past premiership players are easily within reach but Hawthorn will enter Saturday's AFL grand final against Geelong determined to do things their own way.

Hawks skipper Sam Mitchell said he and his teammates had resisted the temptation to call on the myriad stars who won the club five flags between 1983-91.

"We don't use them every other week, we try to keep the routine the same," he said.

"It's been a long time since our last premiership and the game was very different then.

"We're going to play our own game and stick to our own structures and we're not going to be doing anything that's not the current Hawthorn way."

The Hawks' determination to forge their own chapter of history at the MCG is fitting given the players in Saturday's side have virtually grown up together.

Mitchell on Friday pointed to the VFL premiership win of 2001, when he, Michael Osborne, Robert Campbell, Mark Williams and Chance Bateman all played for the Box Hill Hawks, as the genesis of this current Hawthorn side.

Star utility Luke Hodge was drafted in the same year, Trent Croad returned home in 2003 after a stint at Fremantle, and then coach Alastair Clarkson made good his first draft as coach by recruiting Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead and Jordan Lewis in 2004.

"Clarko and the other coaches and the list management staff have done a great job building our squad," Mitchell said.

" ... They've created a list that's put us in a position where we've been in the top two sides in the competition for the year and we've given ourselves every opportunity (to win tomorrow)."

Throughout his tenure Clarkson has put an emphasis on his side playing finals-type football, and was expecting his players to show their toughness by matching Geelong in winning contested possessions.

"We've demonstrated over the two finals that we've played, against the Bulldogs and St Kilda that our hardness at the ball and ability to win the ball has been first-class," Clarkson said.

"If we can do that tomorrow then we give ourselves some sort of chance."

The difference between the sides is likely to emerge during the battle through the middle of the ground, where the Cats' favouritism is reflected in their All-Australian midfielders Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and Joel Corey.

Mitchell said Geelong's onball brigade was still the league's benchmark, but was confident Hawthorn's had closed the gap.

"Our midfield is formidable in its own right," he said.

"We've got fairly good depth now ... this year we proved that in the middle part of the year when perhaps we had a few more injuries than we would have liked but we were still able to win games of footy."

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