Hawks’ mission to keep up heat
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.