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Hardwick rates the Hawks

Guy Hand 10/04/2011 04:14:39 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick believes his old AFL club Hawthorn is the real deal.

But Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson remains unsatisfied despite a 63-point beating of the Tigers at the MCG on Saturday night.

Hardwick was an assistant as Hawthorn started its rebuilding under Clarkson in 2005.

Three years later, the Hawks had won a premiership.

Now another might beckon as the Hawks continue to mark themselves as perhaps Collingwood's best early season challengers, and Hardwick is unashamed in rolling out Hawthorn as the blueprint for what his young Tigers must do.

"The amount of quality they've got through their list at the moment is quite staggering," Hardwick said of Hawthorn.

"(This season) they're going to be a good side - they are a good side.

"We're going along a similar path to Hawthorn in 2004 and 2005 when I started there.

"We've just got to persevere with our young group, get as many games into them as possible, and we'll get better."

Despite Hawthorn riding a superb Lance Franklin five-goal haul and a passenger-free performance, Clarkson still sees a gap between his side and the Magpies.

Richmond may well provide the indicator for how much ground the Hawks need to make up.

They play the premiers on Friday night at the MCG.

"We need to get better and we've got a fair amount of ground to make up on some of the better sides in the competition, particularly that black-and-white crew who continue to play great footy," Clarkson said.

"It nearly sounds arrogant to not be satisfied with a 10-goal victory because if we'd been offered that at the start at the game we'd have probably taken it.

"But we still think we've got a lot of improvement with the way we need to play."

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