Hawks' composure delights Clarkson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks' composure delights Clarkson

03/07/2010 11:42:39 AM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has been heartened by his team's class and poise when it mattered in their "heavyweight bout" with the Western Bulldogs.

The Hawks trailed at every change, but showed desperation, composure, and some sheer brilliance in the final term to win 12.7 (79) to 11.10 (76) at the MCG on Friday night.

It was their seventh straight victory, but the clearest sign they could be a premiership threat, given the quality and intensity of football they produced.

"We hadn't beaten a top four or five side, and it's not like the Dogs have just popped up there in the last little while, they've been a good side for a long period of time," Clarkson said.

"They had nearly their best side on the park and picked their side with the inclusion of some of their guys who are really tough, hard rugged players and we knew it was going to be that type of game.

"We were just really pleased we were able to get the victory."

Captain Sam Mitchell and vice-captain Luke Hodge were outstanding, and both they and star forward Lance Franklin produced brilliant goals in the final quarter, while the Dogs frittered chances.

Clarkson said closing out close games had not been a Hawthorn strength recently, which added to the value of Friday night's win.

"I've never been a red-time favourite in terms of last parts of quarters and just trying to lock the game down," he said.

"But you've got to move with the times and we've coached that a little bit better in the past 12 months and tonight I think we were able to take a little bit of time out of the clock that helped us win."

An even better gauge of their strength as a premiership threat will come next at the MCG next Saturday, against Geelong, who pipped them by nine points in a classic contest in round two.

"You come up against any side that's in the top six, you know it's going to be a genuine contest and you have to play your best footy to get across the line," Clarkson said.

"... I'm sure it will be very very similar when we take on the Cats."

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