Attitude the key for Hawks: Clarkson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Attitude the key for Hawks: Clarkson

By Sam Lienert 15/05/2010 12:20:36 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says the welcome return of key players will count for little unless the side's attitude is up to scratch against Richmond.

After a start to the season hampered by injury and six straight losses, the Hawks will have what on paper appears to be their best side so far this year against the Tigers at the MCG.

Captain Sam Mitchell and star forward Lance Franklin are both set to return from injury, while former Port Adelaide gun midfielder Shaun Burgoyne will make his long-awaited Hawks debut, after overcoming knee, hamstring and jaw injuries.

Burgoyne will wear a helmet against the Tigers to protect his newly-recovered jaw.

They will also get some much-needed ruck relief, ex-Western Bulldog Wayde Skipper having overcome a hamstring injury to finally give Brent Renouf some help.

Small forward Cameron Stokes is the other inclusion, back after a surprisingly quick recovery from a knee reconstruction at the end of last season.

But Clarkson said while the addition of some class players was important, the bigger issue in recent weeks had been getting players' form to match their ability.

"Sides on paper don't mean too much if you haven't got consistent application, no matter who represents the club," Clarkson said on Saturday.

"That's what we've struggled (with) for the past month, we were a little bit better in our game against West Coast last week.

"With two or three quality players back in your side like Mitchell, Franklin and Burgoyne it gives you a chance to genuinely compete on a regular basis with some class in your side.

"But it's been the application across the 22 we're searching for and hopefully we get that tomorrow against Richmond." Clarkson said the returning quintet might take some time to hit top form, particularly Burgoyne and Skipper, both yet to play a game for the club.

But he was hopeful the clash with the winless Tigers could prove a turning point in the Hawks' season.

"Only time will tell, but we just need to apply ourselves in the right sort of manner," Clarkson said.

"We took a step in the right direction last week against West Coast without getting the four points, but we were pleased with our endeavour over there.

"We think we are on the right track to secure a win pretty soon." Richmond have made three changes, adding midfielder Nathan Foley, ruckman Angus Graham and defender Mitch Farmer.

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