Alastair Clarkson wants unsociable, not suspensions.
Ahead of Friday night’s big AFL clash with top side North Melbourne, the Hawthorn coach has railed against the two incidents that marked their round-five clash last season.
Hawks captain Luke Hodge received a three-week ban for a swinging elbow that caught counterpart Andrew Swallow’s jaw.
Jordan Lewis also collected Todd Goldstein with a coathanger that cost him a two-game suspension.
The Hawks went on to belt North by 60 points.
Hawthorn are renowned for unleashing so-called “unsociable” football in big games, but Clarkson said Hodge and Lewis went outside how they want to play.
“If we think we’re going to win the game of footy against the Kangaroos tomorrow night playing that way … those two incidents were in isolation and certainly not the way we want to play our footy,” he said.
Clarkson did not take kindly to a reporter suggesting that Hawthorn had belted up North in last year’s clash.
“I’m not certain ‘belted up’ is a good term – there were two incidents that were undisciplined by our leaders, in terms of Hodge and Lewis,” he said.
“We’re not too happy with our players playing like that.
“So the ‘belting up’ is just a term – the game was played in a physical manner outside of two incidents that were outside the rules of the game and were penalised.”
Friday night is massive – while the Kangaroos remain top, they are coming off a loss to Geelong and have several sore players.
The Hawks will regain star utility Sam Mitchell from a week out with soreness.
Hawthorn are travelling well in fifth spot, especially given they are without Hodge and Jarryd Roughead.
But their three losses have been to Sydney, Geelong and GWS – all fellow top-four contenders.
In response, Clarkson noted they are 3-3 this season against sides likely to make the finals.
“That record probably stacks up with most in the competition,” he said.
“North have only lost twice, but they haven’t played the same amount of sides in the eight as … some of the others.
“It’s a little like the top tennis players in the world playing each other – it’s not six-zip, it’s usually 4-2 or 3-3.
“You just want to make sure it is six-zip when you’re coming through finals and that’s pretty hard to do too.”
Clarkson added that Hawthorn had adapted without Hodge, who has played only four games this season, and Roughead, who is out indefinitely because of cancer treatment.