Hawks unfazed by AFL forecast

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is disregarding the weather as a factor in Saturday’s AFL grand final, saying routine can work to their advantage.

The forecast is for a warm day at the MCG when the Hawks take on West Coast.

That predictably has led to talk that Hawthorn’s tough finals campaign could count against them.

West Coast beat them in a qualifying final, meaning the two-time defending premiers have four games during the finals series.

That last team to take that hard path and win the flag was the Eagles in 2006.

“It could be an important factor for us, too,” Clarkson said at Tuesday night’s AFL Coaches Association awards function.

“We’ve played a lot of footy.

“Routine is a good thing – and you can’t do anything about it.

“We’re hoping that routine will help us.

“We’re happy with our preparation and there will be no excuses come Saturday.”

Hawthorn are on the verge of history – if they win on Saturday, they will be the first team since Brisbane in 2001-03 to win three straight premierships.

Clarkson said they had started discussing it about a month ago within the club, because the media was starting to focus on the topic.

But Hawthorn’s tough finals campaign has made it less relevant to them.

“Because of the path we’ve trodden over the last two or three weeks … it’s not about history and legacies and that sort of stuff,” Clarkson said.

“It’s about trying to defeat an opponent that’s knocked us off in the last two to three weeks.

“If we focus on things outside the footy and the future and how we’ll be seen as a footy club … I reckon we focus on what’s the most important thing, and that’s to acquit ourselves really well on Saturday afternoon.”

Clarkson added that they will assess injured forward Jack Gunston in the next 24-48 hours to see whether he can return for Saturday’s match.

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