Hawks’ mis­sion to keep up heat

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - RE­BECCA WIL­LIAMS AFL ROUND 17

HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clark­son says pres­sure from un­der­neath for spots has en­sured his play­ers re­main on edge for tonight’s clash against lowly Carl­ton af­ter two dom­i­nant weeks.

The Hawks head into the clash at Eti­had Sta­dium on a seven- game win­ning streak, de­mol­ish­ing lad­der leader Fre­man­tle and Syd­ney by a com­bined 161 points in the past two games.

While tonight’s con­test shapes as a lop­sided bat­tle against the 16th- placed Blues, Clark­son said it had not been hard to keep his play­ers’ in­ten­sity up.

“Our ap­proach to this week’s game is no dif­fer­ent to what it has been for the last two weeks,’’ Clark­son said yesterday. “Four points are up for grabs, blokes are jostling for spots, we have got a lot of play­ers at Box Hill level that are play­ing re­ally good footy.

“They have prob­a­bly seen some op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing to­wards the end of the year of try­ing to get into a side that’s go­ing to play fi­nals and we’re pre­par­ing for that.

“We ex­pect to pre­pare like we have the last cou­ple of weeks and come out and ac­quit our­selves very, very well.’’

While Carl­ton’s in­terim coach John Barker con­tin­ues his au­di­tion to be­come the Blues’ next se­nior coach, Clark­son’s as­sis­tant Bren­don Bolton has also been linked to the job. Clark­son said he would speak to Bolton about the role when the time was right.

“From what I can gather, he’s one of 20 and they will whit­tle that down at some pe­riod of time to a short list of five or six,’’ Clark­son said.

But Clark­son did not want to buy into spec­u­la­tion about Hawthorn emerg­ing as a can­di­date to lure the ser­vices of free agent Pa­trick Danger­field.

“We’ll just let Ade­laide and Patty work that out, we have more press­ing things in terms of play­ing Carl­ton this week than wor­ry­ing about what’s go­ing on with Dan­ger,’’ he said.

“We don’t re­ally want to con­trib­ute to the on­go­ing saga that’s just a media frenzy for all con­cerned. We’re not in­volved in it and don’t in­tend to be.’’

Mean­while Clark­son has de­scribed the latest in­jury set­back for Alex Wood­ward as a “sad sit­u­a­tion”, but backed him to re­turn from a third knee re­con­struc­tion.

“There’s been in­stances of guys that have come back from some se­ri­ous hard­ship and given the char­ac­ter of the lad, we think that he is one that can come back,’’ Clark­son said.

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