Hawks, Eagles face fresh AFL tests

The challenges keep coming for Hawthorn and West Coast after their AFL grand final rematch became a one-sided anti-climax.

The injury-plagued defending premiers were far too good for the Eagles, beating them by 46 points on Sunday at the MCG.

It was the same margin as six months ago, when the Hawks won their third-straight premiership.

The Hawks play the unbeaten Western Bulldogs next Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, West Coast and winless Fremantle must regroup for the intense pressure of next Saturday night’s western derby.

The Bulldogs started the season by blitzing the Dockers and also easily beat St Kilda on the weekend.

Hawthorn regrouped impressively on Sunday after the round-one loss to Geelong and coach Alastair Clarkson said there must be no drop-off against the ‘Dogs.

“We’re going to need to play, once again, really strongly,” he said.

“If we bring the sort of application and approach to the game that we had today, then we’ll give ourselves a great chance.

“But drop our guard in one small way against the Bulldogs, then we’ll be chasing tail.

“We need to get ready to play.”

Likewise, Eagles coach Adam Simpson knows his team will face a fierce test as the Dockers try to put their season back on track.

“Round three is big – a lot of teams are on 1-1, aren’t they,” Simpson said.

“Most teams probably have had a good performance and a not-so good performance – we’re right in the middle of that.

“So it’s game-on next week.”

Simpson watched some of Fremantle’s Saturday night loss to Gold Coast on television.

“It was a pretty good contest from Gold Coast, they played a pretty good brand,” he said.

“But we’ll look at Freo at their best.”

The Dockers should regain Chris Masten from an ankle injury, while Liam Shiels (wrist) is set to return for the Hawks.

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