AFL finals loss a spur for Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL finals loss a spur for Hawks

Sam Lienert 29/07/2011 03:23:37 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's memories of being eliminated from last year's AFL finals on their most recent trip to Perth will spur them against Fremantle on Saturday night, says coach Alastair Clarkson.

The Hawks have a strong recent record against the Dockers, winning four of their past five clashes, including a 22-point victory at the MCG earlier this season.

But it is their five-goal loss at Patersons Stadium last September that stands out in Clarkson's mind.

"We've had some really good tussles with them and it's been pretty even the last three or four times that we've played," the Hawks coach said.

"Either we've just been fortunate to get over the line or they have.

"But they were fortunate they got over the line in the important one, that was the elimination final last year over in Perth.

"We'll be keen to try to make amends this time around when we go across."

Tellingly, in that finals encounter, Hawks star forward Lance Franklin was well beaten by Dockers defender Luke McPharlin, who will be absent this time through suspension.

Franklin enters Saturday night's match in great touch, having booted five goals and taken nine marks in last round's win over Melbourne.

But Clarkson said while McPharlin was a key to Fremantle's defence, the impact of Hawthorn's forwards would be more about the precision and frequency of delivery from upfield than their opponents.

"If we can do that well, then whether it's McPharlin or any other defender down there, it will make it very difficult for them," Clarkson said.

The Hawks coach dismissed suggestions that Franklin might come under increased focus for his run-up when kicking for goal.

The issue was highlighted this week by umpires director Jeff Gieschen, who said Docker Hayden Ballantyne should have been denied an after-the-siren shot at goal against West Coast last round, for running off his line.

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has said he expects the same standard to be applied tonatural left-footer Franklin, who tends to veer to the left in his run-up.

But Clarkson said Ballantyne's kick was a special case, because it was from outside the boundary.

"With the Buddy arc, and a lot of other players who run around, most of those are taken within the field of play, so there is a little bit of leeway given to players in their natural arc," Clarkson said.

The Hawks made one change, regaining Matt Suckling from injury, but losing fellow youngster Shane Savage.

The Dockers recalled former Collingwood player Jack Anthony and Rhys Palmer to replace McPharlin and Nick Suban (soreness).

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