Clarkson pleased with Hawks’ AFL grind

Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson is pleased to see his AFL side grinding out victories after a shaky start to the year.

The Hawks held off a third-quarter surge from the Crows and kicked six straight goals in the final period to seal a critical 29-point win at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

The win takes the Hawks to fifth on the ladder with seven wins and four losses just past the halfway point of the season.

“We still need to play some better footy but more importantly we just got the four points,” Clarkson told reporters.

“In games earlier in the year where we were significantly challenged in periods of the game, we lost some of those challenges and dropped some games.

“We still need to do some work in the second half of the year and build ourselves up.”

Hawthorn were outmatched by the Crows at stoppages in the early stages of the game but narrowed the deficit with help from Sam Mitchell (eight clearances) and Jordan Lewis (five clearances).

“I thought, without dominating that area of the ground, we held our own at important periods,” Clarkson said.

The Hawks lacked their customary polish in what proved to be a scrappy contest but it was a win Clarkson was happy to take.

“We had to really grind wins last year and we’re probably going to have to do the same again this year,” he said.

“In the early part of the year we lost a couple of grind games that we’ve been able to win in past years. We’re just going to have to work hard and continue to get the wins together.”

The Hawks are hopeful of regaining veteran defender Grant Birchall for their round 13 clash against Essendon at the MCG as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Young midfielder Will Langford could also be in line for a recall, Clarkson said.

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