Hawks confident of pressuring top two - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks confident of pressuring top two

Guy Hand 16/05/2011 04:49:34 PM Comments (0)

As pundits queue up to label Collingwood and Geelong certain AFL grand finalists on early season form, Hawthorn say they are capable of matching the competition's best.

The Hawks' gutsy 30-point win over 2009 and 2010 grand finalists St Kilda at the weekend showcased their tenacity and courage.

Now they have crept with stealth to a 5-2 win-loss record, and with much less fuss than others at the ladder's pointy end.

The manner of the St Kilda win - achieved two players down after defender Stephen Gilham and ruck David Hale injured their knees early in the match - suggests they are serious threats to the Cats and Magpies.

And their players believe that with natural improvement, the slow-burning Hawks can put a fire under the top two.

"We know when we play our best football we can match it with those sides," midfielder Jordan Lewis said on Monday.

"We're just concentrating on ourselves at the moment. We've got a little bit of improvement to do, and I think we saw a little bit of that on the weekend.

"Hopefully we can keep improving."

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has admitted to a Collingwood-like rotation of young players through the side to emulate the Magpies' 2010 heroics.

First and second-year players Jarryd Blair, Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams became premiership players as a result of Mick Malthouse's tinkering and uncanny knack of knowing the right time to blood youth.

Lewis believes the strategic injection of youth is livening up the Hawks.

"Not only do the young guys come in and contribute, they bring a great energy to the side," Lewis said.

"They're just complementing the side really well.

"It's definitely one of our best wins for the season ... I think our last three quarters were probably the more consistent quarters we've had all year."

Lewis was among the Hawks' best, blanketing St Kilda's Nick Dal Santo and getting plenty of the ball himself.

But he has warned the Hawks need to focus on their next challenge - beating in-form finals aspirants Sydney at the SCG on Sunday.

"As good as the weekend was we've got to quickly move on and focus on Sydney," he said.

"We haven't won there since 2003, so we've got to go there with a contested football mindset, because that's how they play their game."

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