Hawks left to rue another failed season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks left to rue another failed season

By Justin Chadwick 04/09/2010 09:18:09 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is adamant his team's premiership window hasn't closed just yet despite the Hawks bombing out of this year's AFL finals series at the first hurdle.

The Hawks have barely fired a shot since their 2008 premiership success, failing to make the finals last year before finishing a disappointing seventh in 2010 after starting the season with six losses from seven rounds.

Saturday's elimination final against the Dockers in Perth proved too big a task for the Hawks, whose big guns failed to fire in the 30-point loss.

Hawthorn showed they could still match it with the best this season, storming back from their woeful start to win 11 of their last 15 games.

Clarkson is confident he has the class at his disposal to challenge for premiership success in the coming years, even if nuggety utility Campbell Brown leaves the club.

"I think there's some blue sky ahead for us," Clarkson said.

"But we've got a lot of work to do ... finishing seventh or eighth on the ladder isn't anywhere near where we want to finish.

"We think we've got the capabilities to seriously challenge in the next couple of years so that's what we'll be hell bent on doing.

"In my view there'd be four or five other sides in the competition that would be pretty pleased that we've been knocked out (this year)."

Clarkson revealed Hawthorn's slow start to 2010 was due to hanging on to his 2008 premiership-winning tactics too long.

"The way that we'd structured up and planned to win our 11th premiership at our club was we thought was going to be pretty similar to how we won our 10th in terms of game style and the way we moved the footy," Clarkson said.

"We found the game's changed so much in the last 18 months to two years that we found we had to do some things differently.

"We'll endeavour to do that a little bit better over the course of the summer, continue to rehearse in the manner we think we should play good, consistent footy.

"We learnt some pretty valuable lessons over the course of this year.

"I think we've still got the talent. We had a terrible start to the season and got ourselves back and going again."

Clarkson said a series of injuries late this season had cruelled their chances of making an impact in the finals.

Grant Birchall injured his hamstring in round 21 and Luke Hodge looked well below par against the Dockers after missing round 22 with a knee complaint.

Hawthorn's chances of beating Fremantle all but ended in the second quarter when young gun Cyril Rioli tore his hamstring and Xavier Ellis rolled his ankle.

"What you don't want is having injuries going into a finals series," Clarkson said.

"When we lose Birchall and Ellis and Hodge and Rioli ... (Rhan) Hooper's another one.

"(Carl) Peterson was a late withdrawal out of the side today (due to illness).

"We weren't able to recover from that today."

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