Clarkson worries AFL win was too easy

Hawthorn’s record AFL win over Carlton was too easy for coach Alastair Clarkson.

While rapt with the enormous percentage boost, Clarkson said the 138-point demolition was not an ideal lead-up to Friday night’s big game against Richmond.

And Clarkson said such a mismatch was not a great look for the game.

The Hawks posted their biggest winning margin against Carlton and it was also the largest losing margin in the Blues’ history.

“(It’s) not ideal to just have such an uncontested game,” Clarkson said when discussing next Friday’s match against the Tigers.

“Even though we’re gracious victors, we don’t like to see games of footy like (Friday) where it’s just such a significant margin.

“It’s not great for the game.”

The only other disappointment for the Hawks was defender Matt Spangher suffering a hamstring strain that will sideline him for a couple of games.

Jarryd Roughead had a heavy collision with Carlton defender Sam Docherty, but the Hawks star played out the game.

The enormity of the win meant Hawthorn’s percentage shot up from 159 to 170 – easily the best on the ladder.

The two-time defending premiers are breathing down the necks of second-placed West Coast, who were a game ahead of Hawthorn before this round.

Hawthorn are on a roll, having also beaten top side Fremantle and fourth-placed Sydney before the Carlton match.

Asked if he could see the Hawks being beaten for the premiership this season, Carlton coach John Barker simply replied “no”.

“They’ve rolled out on the park in the last two weeks and made very quick work of two of the best four teams in the comp … they’re in good nick,” he added.

But Clarkson said his team is in a much better state than three years ago, where it also showed some strong form before losing an epic grand final to the Swans.

He said in 2012 the Hawks were far too reliant on Lance Franklin as their main key forward.

Now, across the ground, they are much less predictable.

“The big fella wearing No.23 was a significant difference to between then and now,” Clarkson said.

“Probably that’s a thing we’ve worked on over a long period of time, just the potency of our whole forward structure.

“We like to be a team that’s really, really difficult to play against, where they’re not really certain where the matchups are going to be.

“That’s probably the most significant difference between now and 2012.”

Clarkson is hopeful that Ben Stratton and Liam Shiels will return from injury to play Richmond.

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