Cats to need top form vs Hawks: Clarkson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats to need top form vs Hawks: Clarkson

Melissa Woods 05/09/2011 12:53:48 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says Geelong will have to produce a repeat performance of their demolition job on Collingwood to stop his AFL side.

The Cats crushed the defending champions by 96 points in the final round of the regular season but Clarkson said the Hawks wouldn't be running scared ahead of their qualifying final at the MCG on Friday night.

"We need to play at our very best to knock them off but, similarly, they're going to need to produce a brand of footy similar to that to be able to knock us off too," he said on Monday.

He said he wasn't surprised that the Cats were hitting their best form for the finals but also wouldn't be taking too much notice of the result.

"I don't think anyone saw it coming but I don't think we should take too much notice of it either.

"Of course you're surprised when a formidable side like Collingwood gets beaten by that margin ... how much do you read into those sort of contests going into finals, probably very little.

"They've (Geelong) been the best side in the competition for five years and they just played the way they were allowed to play on Friday night."

Clarkson rested eight of his key players for their last-round match against Gold Coast and only managed to scrape home with a nine-point win against the wooden spooners.

He said it gave other players an opportunity to push for a position in the finals campaign although he wouldn't reveal if any would hold their place with the return of the big guns.

Although some players would be disappointed, Clarkson said it was "healthy" for the club to have so many players available.

"To have 28 to 32 players, who can come in and make a contribution and fill the role, is very pleasing.

"If you push your way through the three-four games to win the grand final, you are going to need more than the 22."

The last time the teams met, the Hawks blew a 17-point three-quarter time lead to suffer a five-point loss.

Skipper Luke Hodge said his side felt they could match the might of the Cats.

"We're taking some pretty good form into the finals series. We're taking in a bit of confidence from the consistent form we've had in last half of the year.

"We're confident if we play to the best of ability, we can match them."

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