Josh Gibson has brushed off inevitable predictions of AFL doom for Hawthorn, saying they are nothing new.
The Hawks’ 75-point pummelling from GWS last Saturday was their heaviest loss since the Western Bulldogs tore them apart by 88 points in round 14, 2009.
But Gibson has backed the three-time defending premiers, with the star defender saying they are a proud group of players who will bounce back.
One of the features of Hawthorn’s domination under coach Alastair Clarkson is they rarely lose heavily.
Even when the three-time defending premiers made a scratchy 4-4 start a year ago, the biggest losing margin was 10 points.
Hawthorn simply do not get blown away, which means the scale of Saturday’s loss raised eyebrows around the AFL.
Gibson said the inevitable mutterings about the Hawks mean nothing to them.
“That’s for people to say – I’ve heard that every year,” Gibson said on Monday.
“There are always going to be doubters and for us, it’s about the four walls of this place.
“We know we haven’t been playing to the way we want to play and there are always going to be doubters – they’re entitled to say that.
“But from inside here, we believe we can still play good footy – we’ve shown it in patches this year.”
The Hawks play out-of-form Richmond this Friday night and curiously, form suggests the Tigers are a chance.
Richmond have won three of their past four games against the Hawks and two of them were by more than 40 points.
“Richmond have always taken it up to us and it’s a great challenge,” Gibson said.
The GWS loss followed three successive three-point wins.
Clarkson warned before the weekend that they needed to improve.
“We know we haven’t been playing great footy over the last few weeks and we’ve managed to get a couple of wins,” Gibson said.
“On the weekend we got a reality check from a good side.
“We’re fully aware that the way we played on the weekend isn’t acceptable and it’s certainly not the standards we want to be playing at.
“We just haven’t been hungry enough for the last few weeks.”
Whatever the problems at Hawthorn, Gibson is adamant Brian Lake’s absence is not one of them.
Lake, always outspoken, has had plenty to say about his old team since the Hawks let him go after last season.
And Gibson jokingly fired one back when asked about their leaky defence.
“We’re not going to call Brian Lake and say we need him back, because that’s not the answer to what’s going on now,” he said.
HAWTHORN NEVER LOSE BIG – UNTIL NOW
* In their 2013-15 premiership seasons, the Hawks’ biggest losing margin was 41 points to Richmond in round 19, 2013.
* Their only other loss over five goals in that time was 32 points to West Coast in last year’s qualifying final
* Saturday’s 75-point loss to GWS was their biggest losing margin since 88 points against the Western Bulldogs in round 14, 2009
* Friday’s opponent Richmond have won three of their last four games against Hawthorn, including 62 points in round nine, 2012.