Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson refused to blame an emotionally draining preparation for the Hawks’ 14-point loss to Sydney.
Jarryd Roughead’s shock cancer news shook the club to its core early in the week, making football a secondary concern with Friday’s clash against the Swans looming.
Hawthorn, listless and hesitant in a goalless first quarter, played like a team full of players with other things on their minds as they fell 36 points behind late in the first half.
The Hawks finally got going with two goals late in the second quarter and were in the contest from there, but Clarkson lamented the uncharacteristic opening from the triple-premiers.
“We lost a game of footy where we didn’t play particularly well and neither did Sydney,” Clarkson said.
“It was pretty ordinary and we played a little worse than Sydney did.
“(But) I thought the club as a whole handled a pretty difficult situation really well … the players, their effort and endeavour was there. We just couldn’t finish our work.”
The crowd stood and applauded in tribute to Roughead, who wears the No.2 guernsey, in the second minute of the second quarter.
It was the most overt display of support for Roughead on the night as the club did it’s best to accommodate his wish for things to remain as normal as possible as he embarks on his cancer battle.
“The sooner the hysteria goes out of this (the better),” Clarkson said.
“We’re trying to keep it as normal as we possibly can for him … it’s difficult for people outside the football club because their manner of trying to provide him with support is just what they can do publicly.
“But the sooner it settles down … this is a significant illness that he’s got to confront, but it’s not an illness that any one of us in this room or the wider football world or the wider community haven’t had to confront from time to time … we’re going to deal with it in the best manner that we can as a footy club.”