Hawks talk down meeting with Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks talk down meeting with Bombers

30/04/2010 06:15:42 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has played down the hype surrounding Saturday night's big AFL clash against Essendon, saying his only focus is for the Hawks to start playing good football again.

The fierce rivalry between the two clubs continued at the end of last season when then Bombers captain Matthew Lloyd knocked out Brad Sewell, prompting angry reactions from Clarkson and Hawks players.

Lloyd has since retired, but Hawthorn will no doubt want some revenge after losing that game and missing out on a finals berth.

But Clarkson said on Friday that his main concern was that the Hawks start winning after suffering four successive losses.

Hawthorn will be strengthened by the return of ruckman Brent Renouf, who was a late withdrawal from last weekend's loss to North Melbourne due to illness, leaving the Hawks with no recognised ruckmen.

Bombers captain Jobe Watson wants his team's ruck duo of David Hille and Patrick Ryder to put the pressure on Renouf and open up an advantage for Essendon.

"When we have two blokes who ... are capable of playing at such a high level and they're both physical, big-body guys, hopefully it's an advantage for us," Watson said.

"It's a huge duel in the ruck and obviously Renouf has been carrying the load on his own.

"It's really important those two guys get physical and really stamp their authority on the game."

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said Renouf is still a couple of weeks away from Wayde Skipper overcoming injury and providing support, while Simon Taylor will not return until the second half of the season.

Renouf pulled out of the Hawks team only minutes before the game in Launceston, prompting an official warning from the AFL, but Clarkson said they had no choice.

"We were trying to get him to the line, he'd been ill on and off throughout ... the previous 24 hours," Clarkson said.

"He did the warm-up and he coughed up blood, now our doctors have pretty much got a status that says when a player does that, don't run the risk of playing him.

"It was a bit of a hiccup for us, we'd certainly have liked to have had at least one ruckman playing.

"We felt like that was a real hurdle that we were unable to overcome ... I'm not sure whether it cost us the game or not, but it certainly didn't help us."

In Hawthorn injury news, Clarkson said captain Sam Mitchell should be back soon.

This weekend's match will be the second Mitchell misses, with Clarkson saying the midfielder has hamstring tendinitis.

"In past years with him, his experience has been (that) he's been able to overcome those injuries really quickly," Clarkson said.

"We weren't even anticipating he'd miss one week.

"He's not too far away, he has good strength and we just want to make sure he's right - that should be in the next little while."

Watson was speaking at Friday's launch in Melbourne of the Globall Program, an initiative by Essendon and Cricket Victoria to help international students and new migrants settle into Victorian society.

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