Clarkson pleased with hard-edged Hawks

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson makes no apologies for the Hawks’ hard-nosed approach in Saturday night’s 60-point win over North Melbourne.

Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis are sweating on the match review panel’s assessment of incidents that resulted in Andrew Swallow and Todd Goldstein needing medical attention in the first quarter at Etihad Stadium.

The Hawks were brushed aside in a blistering opening term by Port Adelaide last week, but Clarkson denied he had sent his players on a mission to overtly physically intimidate the Kangaroos.

“We weren’t intending to make a physical statement as such,” Clarkson said, after declining to comment on the incidents in question.

“We try to start games in a spirited manner in every game that we play in – so does every side in the competition.

“When you’ve got two bulls going at each other, two really talented sides who both finished top four last year, then the spirit is going to be right in the contest. So there is very little surprise that it was pretty spirited in the first part of the game.

“We’re pleased with our endeavour and our hunt of the footy – it got us away to some scoreboard pressure on the opposition.”

The game got off to a fiery start when the Hawks’ skipper caught Swallow in the jaw with a swinging left arm, and threatened to boil over after Lewis felled Goldstein with an old-fashioned coat hanger just minutes later.

Lewis was reported by umpire Sam May, but Hodge will have to wait for the MRP’s assessment on Monday to see if he has a case to answer.

“It was a bit of a brain fade, but we’ll see what happens,” Hodge told the Seven Network after the match.

“If anything comes of it, whatever happens, I’ll speak (about it) post that.”

Lewis told the broadcaster that he had made accidental contact with Goldstein’s head in a misguided attempt to spoil.

Swallow had his jaw checked after the forceful contact that led to a heated scuffle, but returned to the field only to cop a second high blow in a third-quarter tackle by Ben Stratton that resulted in him being subbed out of the game.

North coach Brad Scott didn’t think that his captain had been targeted by the Hawks, but he was pleased with how his players responded when challenged.

“I think they’re getting better at that,” Scott said.

“Hawthorn are a dominant side for a reason. You’ve got to respond and stand up for yourself and at the same time remain composed. I thought we did that reasonably well, but we were outplayed for the rest of the game.

“But if sides think they can ruffle Andrew Swallow’s feathers then they’re mistaken.”

Scott said that Swallow had been cleared to go back on after completing his 20-minute concussion substitution, but that the club had taken a conservative approach that should allow him to play next week.

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