Hawks coach praises GWS

Hawthorn left Aurora Stadium with a winning margin over Greater Western Sydney – 83 points – that indicated a thrashing, although both coaches were united in declaring it did not portray how effective the tenacious Giants were.

The Giants never threatened a boilover against the Hawks although they were strongly in contention to keep the final margin within 10 goals, especially after they shaded their mighty opponents in play – and almost on the scoreboard – in the third quarter.

But GWS’ efforts were undermined by its concession of the last six goals of the match – mainly because its defenders were too exhausted to clog their defensive zone as they had for the rest of the clash – which Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson reckoned was ”a pretty locked-down, dull affair really”.

”The scoreboard probably flattered us a little bit in the end because I thought the Giants were pretty competitive throughout the course of the day,” Clarkson said of the win, the Hawks’ seventh from eight games.

”They out-tackled us by a long way, we couldn’t get control of the clearances as much as we’d have liked, and with them clogging up our front half it made it difficult for us to be able to get fluency in our game.

”You’d think that our game went pretty smoothly today, having an 83-point win, but there was aspects … particularly in the third quarter, we weren’t really pleased with. All we can do is keep refining those things.”

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy, asked whether he too thought the margin overstated the Hawks’ dominance in the match, replied: ”I think most people would think that, but that’s the score.”

The tackling advantage cited by Clarkson – the Giants led that statistic 82 to 57 – was considered by Sheedy to be a positive sign of both his players’ attitude and development in their second season in the AFL.

”We’ve worked hard in that area. We saw what the Swans were able to achieve in last year’s grand final [against Hawthorn with] over 100 tackles and were up about the mid 80s. We just don’t have the skill to actually own the ball and get the benefit of it.”

Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell was peerless overall in the match with 35 possessions, four of them inside-50 thrusts, although the dominant player in close was teammate Jordan Lewis, who had a game-high 11 clearances and 14 contested possessions.

The Hawks were also well served by key-forward trio Jarryd Roughead (five goals), Jack Gunston (three goals) and Lance Franklin (two goals), while Jeremy Cameron kicked four for the Giants.

Clarkson said the Hawks would regain Bradley Hill, a late withdrawal with a corked thigh, and Josh Gibson (ankle) for next week’s match at home to Gold Coast, a match he stressed they would approach with their usual level of intensity.

”They’ve improved a lot and their midfield is … one of the more potent going around.”

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