Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has warned his side’s form of the last three weeks won’t be good enough to topple the improving GWS Giants on Saturday.
The AFL premiers are coming off three successive three-point wins over the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Adelaide heading into the Giants’ first home match at Spotless Stadium this season.
“We know that we need to play a hell of a lot better,” Clarkson said in Sydney on Friday.
“If we produce anything like we’ve done over the last three or four weeks tomorrow night, I don’t think it’s going to get it done for us.
“We need to improve and play a bit better and we’ll be challenging our boys to try and do that.”
Clarkson left little doubt he was searching for a widespread lift.
“We haven’t got enough of our players making solid enough and consistent enough contributions, so that’d be first and foremost,” Clarkson said.
“We’ve got some players that need to produce more consistent footy.
“They’ve been okay in patches of games, they’ve been okay one week and then not so good another.
“Some of it is to do with our patterns of play.
“We’ve been allowing sides to kick too many goals and we haven’t kicked enough ourselves, so on both sides of the ball we’ve got areas of improvement that we need to focus on.”
For Giants’ coach Leon Cameron, who will mark his 50th game in charge and was an assistant to Clarkson at Hawthorn, Saturday’s game represents a major barometer of how far his charges have come.”
GWS upset Hawthorn at the same venue last season and are coming of successive wins over Port Adelaide and St Kilda.
“There’s no doubt the last couple of weeks we’ve improved a fair bit,” Cameron said.
“The defensive side of our game has to improve 10 or 15 per cent.
“If we don’t play some good defence against the Hawks they will be down the other end pretty quickly and they make you pay.
“The test is really tomorrow for us, how far have we come?”
Clarkson denied suggestions the Hawks would be primarily motivated by responding to some “lippy” chat from the Giants durING last year’s game..
“For that to be the driving force to try and secure a victory tomorrow is probably a little bit far off the mark,” Clarkson said.
“They played a great brand of footy and I think they have improved significantly since that time too.
“i think the whole competition is taking notice of this side, they are really startling to mature as a group.”