‘Most significant down we’ve had for a long time’

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AFL: In his 150th game, Hawthorn ruckman Ben McEvoy was in tears post-game after a far from memorable milestone match.

Jarryd Roughead leads the Hawks off the MCG after the loss to the Cats. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

CHRIS CAVANAGHHerald Sun

A DEFLATED Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has conceded the club needs to look at all aspects of what it is doing as it tries to dig itself out of the “most significant down that we’ve had for a long time”.

The Hawks on Monday suffered a second 86-point defeat in as many weeks and their biggest loss to Geelong since 1949, the side devoid of any confidence and flare.

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Clarkson admitted he may have been guilty of holding too much belief in his team going into the season.

Asked if he had to reassess where the Hawks were at after their 0-4 start to the season, the four-time premiership coach said: “Yeah, probably”.

Jarryd Roughead leads the Hawks off the MCG after the loss to the Cats. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

Jarryd Roughead leads the Hawks off the MCG after the loss to the Cats. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource:News Corp Australia

However, he paused before entering the post-match press conference to count the number of Hawthorn players on the MCG on Monday who were All-Australians.

The count was eight, leading him to question himself as to why the side was not performing.

“Our skill level is just nowhere near the level (it needs to be). Some of our players, you’d think they’re different players and that can come and go with footy,” Clarkson said.

“We know that these guys have got the quality and been able to produce good football but right at the present time the cohesion amongst our group is nowhere near as strong as it should be. Some of that’s basic skill execution, some of it’s to do with the coaching, some of it’s to do with the playing. But we share the responsibility and we try to dig ourselves out of this hole that we’re in.”

Clarkson said his message to players after the game was simple: “Hang in there”.

It is the same message he wanted to provide to all at the club and supporters, saying they all had to “band together and fight our way through what’s a pretty tough time for our club”.

Hawthorn is winless so far in 2017. Picture: Michael Klein

Hawthorn is winless so far in 2017. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

“This group has been able to produce some pretty good football and been really confident the way they’ve gone about it,” Clarkson said.

“Right at the moment, that’s not occurring. So why is it? I’ve got to look at myself in terms of what we’re doing and also the players need to work out a way that we can work our way forward, too.”

The Hawks meet West Coast (3-1) at the MCG on Sunday.

Midfielder Jaeger O’Meara is expected to return for that clash, having missed Monday’s match with a knock to the knee.

Originally published as ‘Most significant down we’ve had for a long time’

SOURCE: newsnow sport