Hawk admits Perth AFL crowd got to them

Hawthorn star Jordan Lewis admits the Domain Stadium cauldron overawed them in their AFL qualifying final loss to West Coast.

But Lewis adds that experience will stand them in good stead for Friday night’s preliminary final clash with Fremantle at the same venue.

The Hawks were well below their best against the Eagles and the loss means if they are to win their third-straight premiership, they will do it the hard way.

It forced them to make two trips to Perth in three weeks, separated by a resounding semi-final win over Adelaide.

“It’s pretty vivid in our memories that we were probably intimidated, a little bit, to be honest, by the crowd,” Lewis said of the Eagles match.

“But we’ve learned a lot of lessons from that game and hopefully we prepare ourselves a little bit differently for the crowd this time.”

Lewis suspects that an easy run into the finals meant the intensity of the atmosphere at the Perth final surprised the Hawks.

“We’ve played in big games a lot in recent years,” he said.

“But it was probably the two games leading into the finals, the crowd wasn’t as big and it wasn’t as vocal.

“It shouldn’t have come as a shock, but we probably weren’t ready for it and we probably got overawed by it a little bit.

“That was a really good lesson for us to learn – we didn’t play our best football and the crowd was probably a key factor.”

Lewis was among six Hawks who flew to Perth on Wednesday a day early for the preliminary final.

Captain Luke Hodge, Shaun Burgoyne, Jarryd Roughead and Isaac Smith also went ahead of their teammates.

Emergency Jonathon Ceglar was with them as well, but injured forward Jack Gunston did not travel.

The Hawks flew over Smith a day early for the qualifying final as he recovered from a knee injury.

“He’s in the bracket of seeing how he pulled up today and they’ll obviously test him,” Lewis said of Gunston.

“We’ll see if he’s on the flight tomorrow.

“They maybe wanted to keep him back, to test him and see how he went and make the decision then.”

Another player not quite 100 per cent for Friday’s match is Fremantle star Nat Fyfe, who admits his ongoing leg injury is a nuisance.

But Lewis said Fyfe remains dangerous, no matter how fit he is.

“Nat Fyfe at 80 per cent is still obviously a really dangerous player,” Lewis said.

“You can’t go into the mindset of just targetting players, because you get a bit overawed by that and a bit consumed by that.”

Despite Hawthorn’s good record against Fremantle, Lewis said there was probably no favourite this time.

“Certainly we go over there knowing we play them on their home deck,” he said.

“They’ve obviously had a break, so that helps them maybe.

“It’s a pretty even match when you look at both sides … they’ve (both) played a lot of finals and been together for a long period of time.”

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