Hawks determined to seize AFL chance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks determined to seize AFL chance

Roger Vaughan 21/09/2011 03:59:19 PM Comments (0)

The AFL double chance is a great reward for a lot of hard work during the season - but only if you make the most of it.

Having almost squandered that opportunity, Hawthorn are determined to keep going and cause a big upset in Friday night's preliminary final against reigning premiers Collingwood.

It was no accident that several Hawks veterans had massive first quarters in last Friday night's semi-final win over Sydney.

Geelong had swatted Hawthorn aside in the previous week's qualifying final and star midfielder Sam Mitchell said there was a stark realisation within the team that urgent action was needed.

"A lot of us let the club down ... in the way we went about and the way we played against Geelong," Mitchell said.

"You try so hard all year to get the double chance, we want to make the most of it.

"There's no point getting the double chance so you can just get one more week. You want to make the most of actually getting another chance, because you don't always get it.

"The older guys were probably a little bit disappointed with the game the week before."

Last weekend was also their first finals win since Hawthorn's 2008 premiership.

The Hawks narrowly missed the top eight in 2009 and only made up the numbers last year, losing their elimination final to Fremantle.

For a club that is nearing the end of a five-year strategic plan that calls for two premierships in that period, mid-table mediocrity will not do.

Asked if Hawthorn could be accused of not realising their potential had they not made the top four this year, Mitchell said "that's fair".

"At the moment, we're in a position where we should be successful and it didn't happen for various reasons over the last couple of years," he said.

"As a footy club, that's where we feel Hawthorn should be, somewhere up around the sides ... in a top-four spot.

"We've worked hard to get ourselves into that position and, now we're there, we need to make that opportunity happen."

Mitchell has been a big part of Hawthorn's improvement this year, enjoying probably his best season individually.

The former Hawks captain was rewarded on Monday night with All-Australian selection - incredibly, the first time Mitchell has received the honour.

But there have also been some massive family challenges.

Mitchell and wife Lyndall had twin daughters Emmerson and Scarlett earlier this year, while son Smith is almost 18 months old.

If that is not chaotic enough, Scarlett had serious health problems immediately after she was born.

Mitchell spoke of he and Lyndall being "traumatised" by what they went through in the first few weeks after the twins' births.

"You don't spend much time reflecting on your season until it's over, but I'm certainly proud of being able to raise a healthy family, a happy family, and still do my job on the field," Mitchell said.

"To be honest, it (football) has been a distant second priority this year, but I've still been able to do it to a level that I've been happy with and the club has been happy with."

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