Another lacklustre win has Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson worried it’s only a matter of time until the side’s luck runs out.
In Launceston on Saturday the Hawks scraped home by three points against St Kilda 13.9 (87) to 13.6 (84).
It was a result comparable to the premiers’ three-point victory over the Western Bulldogs last round and another unjust win, Clarkson said.
“Probably two weeks in a row the better side has lost. St Kilda played a better brand of footy today than we did.”
And it has the coach mindful that every team is nipping at Hawthorn’s heels.
“We’ve probably got a fair target on our foreheads at the minute given that we’ve had success over the past couple of years and these clubs are really coming at us hard,” Clarkson said.
“We’re just holding up at the minute and so we need to play a bit better – hopefully that’s next week against Adelaide.
“The tide will eventually turn on us – if we keep producing footy like we did today I think the luck is not going to stay our way.”
With scores level at the final break, the young Saints were well placed to bring down the league giants and the underdogs stretched out to an 11-point lead early in the final term.
But the less experienced side missed some golden chances and lost their margin.
In the closing phases, with a chance to snatch back the lead, Saints forward Paddy McCartin crashed the pack to take a high-flying mark 40m from goal, but his set shot failed to bend back and he registered a behind.
“We’re proud of the group that they’re finding a way to win but we’re a far cry from our best footy,” Clarkson said.
After their first-round 30-point loss to Geelong, the Hawks have won each subsequent match.
“It’s a pretty unconvincing 3-1 at this point in time but we’ll take it and move on,” Clarkson said.
Midfielder Sam Mitchell racked up a career-high 44 disposals and also finished with 20 contested possessions and 10 centre clearances.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said his side put in a positive four quarters and was unapologetic for errors in defence.
“We want to be bold from defence, we don’t want to just kick down the line,” Richardson said.
The Saints lost Jarryn Geary from their backline late in the final term after a knock to the head, which Richardson said was tough for their defence to overcome.
He’s expected to be fit for next round against GWS Giants.