Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is confident the experiences of the past two years will ensure the rising tide of hype around his red hot AFL team won’t turn his players heads.
Seven straight wins, including successive 72 and 89 point victories over chief rivals Fremantle and Sydney have the Hawks pegged as strong flag favourites.
Clarkson said the mounting hype after their last two games was nothing they hadn’t endured in the last two years.
“That means there’s some pressure that comes with that and I’d like to think our players and our club are level-headed enough to be able to cope with that,” Clarkson said.
“Our goal at the start of the year was to finish in the top four and we’re just happy that we’re adding up the wins and hopefully get ourselves in a good position by round 23 to have a good shot at it.
“You don’t win grand finals in July. We’ve got to be playing our best footy in September, but we’re pleased that over the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to account for two really, really strong opponents, who we’ve got enormous regard for.”
Hawthorn are averaging 112 points a game, having broken the century in 10 of 15 matches and passed 90 in three of their other five fixtures.
“There’s a lot of talk in the media at the present time about the style of game and the amount of scoring and the limited scoring that’s occurring, but part of that is just this time of year it’s difficult to score,” Clarkson said.
“But part of it is to do with teams just being probably too conservative with the footy and we like to attack, but we know we’ve got to defend behind the ball too.
“We try to get the balance right.”
Celebrated forward Jarryd Roughead added even more firepower on Saturday to Hawthorn’s already awesome arsenal, booting five goals in his first mach back following a cancer scare.
Brad Hill pulled out of the Swans game with a calf issue, but Clarkson expected him to play against Carlton next Friday.