Clarkson rates Pies sky high - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarkson rates Pies sky high

Guy Hand 16/04/2011 07:51:18 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says his side are not in AFL premiers Collingwood's league right now.

Not on the strength of their unconvincing seven-point win over West Coast at Aurora Stadium on Saturday - achieved only by the powers of six-goal hero Lance Franklin.

Clarkson believes the Magpies have "a fair gap" on the rest of the competition, including his Hawks who are seen as their most likely challengers.

And the coach believes his side must lift markedly on this weekend's performance, as well as becoming less Franklin-centric, to be a finals force.

"I don't think we're going to win games of finals footy if we've only got a heavy focus on going through one or two players in our forward half," Clarkson said.

"The Pies are the benchmark - they had 14 goalkickers (in beating Richmond) last night and Dane Swan who is a midfielder kicked four of them.

"That's the model a lot of teams are trying to chase down. As we saw with today's game there's a fair gap between us and the Magpies.

"Indeed I think there's a fair gap between most teams and the Magpies at the present time."

But Clarkson admits his side's 3-1 win-loss record has given them a platform for success, and believes there's plenty of improvement to come.

The Eagles could well have beaten the Hawks with a little more early polish in front of goal, and it was only Franklin and midfielder Sam Mitchell's tireless efforts that swung the game Hawthorn's way.

All three of their wins have come with flat spots, yet the Hawks have still been able to conjure victory.

"We're just happy to get early wins in the season. The last couple of seasons we haven't been able to get the seasons off to a good start," Clarkson said.

"But we're 3-1 now and we're pleased we were somehow able to find a victory for ourselves today."

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