Hodge says Hawks must lift in AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodge says Hawks must lift in AFL finals

By Roger Vaughan 13/09/2011 07:38:03 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge remains upbeat about their AFL finals hopes - but only if they improve dramatically on their qualifying final performance.

While the 31-point losing margin to Geelong last Friday night was not massive, the Hawks were left reeling as the Cats beat them too often at clearances.

The Cats also were well up on inside 50s, 69-51.

Now they meet Sydney in Friday night's semi-final, with the in-form Swans another team who revel in winning stoppages.

The season is over for the losers of the weekend's two semis.

"Of course, there's a belief - the only thing is you have to play four quarters of football," Hodge said.

"If we dish up the same stuff we dished up on Friday night, we'll be out in straight sets.

"We're focused on a hard, physical encounter on Friday night and we'll be ready for it."

Adding to Hawthorn's troubles, star forward Lance Franklin is a near certainty to miss the Swans match - and probably the rest of the season - with his knee injury.

"He's walking around, he's been on the bike a little bit - if you speak to him, he's 100 per cent playing this Friday night," Hodge said.

"The only thing is the doctors (and physios) make the decision ... they're going to take no risk."

Hodge is confident the Hawks' attack can cope, noting they scored 23 goals when they beat Essendon in round 14 without Franklin and fellow key forward Jarryd Roughead.

Hodge himself, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lisle, Jordan Lewis and Shaun Burgoyne are all players who can rotate through the attack to provide different scoring options.

But the Hawks skipper again made it clear the forwards could not do much if players further up the field were not giving them adequate supply.

He was asked about small forward Cyril Rioli, who had a quiet night against Geelong.

"It's pretty hard when you don't get the ball down there to him, so I don't think you'll be blaming Cyril for that," Hodge said.

"It's the whole side - if you look at the weekend, we had (51) inside 50s to 69.

"I wonder why their forwards took so many marks and I wonder why our forwards were quieter."

Another big problem for the Hawks will be Swans star Adam Goodes, who plays his 300th AFL match this week.

Hodge said several players would be needed to quell Goodes, depending on where he plays.

But he doubts coach Alastair Clarkson will give him (Hodge) the job, given the Swans utility once kicked three goals and had 33 possessions while playing on him.

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