Hawks coach hoping Franklin fires again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks coach hoping Franklin fires again

By Melissa Woods 12/06/2009 03:40:10 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson rates Lance Franklin's starring role against Sydney as his best of the AFL season and hopes for an encore performance against Brisbane.

The defending premiers host the Lions on Sunday at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, where a top temperature of just nine degrees is expected, as they back up from a thrilling 11-point win over the Swans.

After a sluggish start to the season averaging 1.8 contested marks a game in the first 10 rounds, Franklin hit form against the Swans.

The Coleman Medallist kicked three goals and took six contested marks against All-Australian defender Craig Bolton, which Clarkson rated as one of the most pleasing improvements to his game.

"I thought he was the most influential player on the ground," Clarkson said.

"That was possibly the best game that Buddy had played for the season, certainly the most influential in terms of the result.

"We're really pleased with his attack on the ball and creating contests for us and that was probably an area of his game that had been a little bit down in previous weeks and he addressed that last week and that's when he plays his best footy.

"We're hopeful he'll be like that again this week."

While Franklin is not emulating last year's stunning form, when he kicked 113 goals, Clarkson said the 22-year-old had remained confident in his ability.

He believed Franklin's recovery from off-season surgery had taken its toll.

"He's always pretty optimistic and confident in the way that he goes about it," Clarkson said.

"The spring has always been in his step in terms of the way that he plays but he's been double-teamed a lot this year and it has made it difficult for him at different stages.

"He has been able to train a bit more.

"He had a few interruptions early in the season and when you're training well and preparing well you usually play well and that has certainly been the case over the last little while with him."

While one star forward is shining, Clarkson lamented the loss of another in Cyril Rioli, who damaged his hamstring against the Swans and will be sidelined for up to four weeks.

"He's a pretty important player to our structure," Clarkson said.

"He has evolved as a very important player both within our forward 50 arc and he's also been playing a little bit higher up the ground.

"He's a pretty difficult guy to match up on."

Meanwhile, Clarkson again flagged a mid-season draft as a possible idea to help teams beset by injuries.

"Whether it's mid-season drafts or trading future draft picks or free agency, what the AFL are looking at very closely is the mechanism where players can move from club to club a bit more freely," he said.

"The AFL, the players and the clubs need to work out the best structure to go forward with that ... those three parties need to debate it full well and make sure the right structure going forward is good for all parties concerned.

"It is very clearly on the agenda."

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