Hawthorn’s thirst to be tested ahead of the AFL finals series will see the premiers head north with enthusiasm to play Sydney on Thursday night.
Just don’t expect another public rev-up from coach Alastair Clarkson ahead of the table-topping clash.
The four-time premiership coach took a step outside of the ordinary last week, publicly baiting opponents Port Adelaide to ensure a strong showing from his side.
Wingman Isaac Smith said while Clarkson’s spray got the desired result – a 22-point win at Adelaide Oval – he didn’t think it would be necessary ahead of their SCG date.
“We wanted to make sure when we rocked up last Thursday we rocked up to play,” he told reporters on Monday.
“Behind closed doors he was … not chilled out but he was just the normal Clarko.
“He gave us the facts and made sure that we were ready.
“Hopefully he doesn’t need to do that every week.
Smith says the high-stakes of preserving top spot on the ladder should be all the motivation any team should need to perform.
“It’s one `v’ two on the ladder and it should be a cracking match,” he said.
“Games like this are the ones you want to play.
“It’s great to be playing footy against the best teams at their home ground because it’s a genuine challenge.
“I’d tune in on Thursday night.”
Sydney were the last team to claim the points against Hawthorn, six matches ago at the MCG.
Smith was close to Hawthorn’s best in their round nine meeting, with 26 touches.
He acknowledged the importance of claiming a regular-season win given the sides have met in four of the last five finals series.
“If you win you’ve probably got the psychological edge the next time you go in,” he said.
“But I don’t think it’s the be all and end all.
“Hopefully we meet again in September because they always seem to be great challenges.”