Hawks will bounce back, says coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks will bounce back, says coach

By Guy Hand 30/08/2009 01:03:32 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has promised the Hawks' fall from AFL heroes to zeroes in 2009 is a temporary blip, which will be put right in upcoming seasons.

Hawthorn's 17-point defeat to Essendon at the MCG on Saturday gave the Hawks the unwanted distinction of being the first premiers to miss the top eight the following year since Adelaide in 1999.

While the Hawks have had excuses with a long list of injuries to key players, they have also butchered weeks worth of chances to still make the finals - and again let a 22-point halftime lead slip against the Bombers.

But Clarkson is confident the Hawks will use the spur of failing to make the eight this season as a springboard to fight back next year.

"We've got an expectation as a club now that we've won a title, we want to get back there and play regular finals footy," Clarkson said.

"Unfortunately we've been playing catch-up for most of the season.

"We started the season with our defence decimated by injury and we finished the season with a fair few guys in our forward half unable to play.

"We know if we get our best blokes on the park and the pressure of the young blokes coming through, it'll hold our club in real good stead approaching the next couple of seasons."

The Hawks will at least get a far longer pre-season than they had going into 2009, while they will also be able to send several players for surgery immediately rather than have them hobbling through a finals series.

Clarkson conceded there were some Hawks players who had been carrying injuries late in the season - the most obvious defender Luke Hodge who could barely walk at times against Essendon.

"It was pretty lion-hearted for them to just hang in there and see out the season," Clarkson said.

"We would have loved to have been playing next week.

"But in a sense it's a relief that some of those guys that are injured can put the season behind them and get themselves right."

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