Angie: The Sports Authority

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Australian Football: Hawks are learning from their victory over Brisbane

Hawthorn boss Alastair Clarkson hopes his players will learn from how they overcame the Brisbane Lions' talented midfield on Saturday, and will take advantage of the experience as they look towards future success.

In fact, Clarkson described Brisbane's engine room as the "most outstanding midfield in the competition" – and as one that has held that title for a decade – with his young team yet to achieve anything remotely similar to the Lions' recent domination.

However, he really hopes Saturday's win over the owners of the three-peat era will give his players confidence, as well as teach them a valuable lesson regarding the requirements of AFL football.

"Hopefully somewhere down the track, as long as they fight for one another like they did today, and they continue to realise you only get out of this match what you put into it, a lot of hard work, hopefully they'll get some rewards somewhere down the track," he expressed right after the 24-point win.

"We were very proud of our lads today. They worked really, really hard, they were up against a quality outfit that has been in outstanding form over the past five weeks, and we had to play at our very best to get the points. Brisbane at no stage laid down, and they kept coming at us, and the resilience of our group to withstand that pressure and win the clash of footy was first class."

In fact, Clarkson noticed that one of the most pleasing aspects of the win was the fact it was obtained over a large number of triple premiership players.

"That was the great challenge for our players today, to see where they stand amongst that sort of company," he admitted.

And the only negative for the Hawks came when injury-plagued skipper Richie Vandenberg came off in the first half with a knee complaint.

Clarkson is also concerned about the captain's leg is, but is confident it isn't serious: "He got a knock to his knee, they'll scan it early this week to determine the extent of it," he said.

"I saw he hurt it early in the game and came back on in the second quarter, but when you're a guy that needs to run and has a little bit of a problem with your knee, it makes it tough.

"I just don't think it's a severe injury, by any stretch, and he'll have a scan.

“If it's not serious, he might be okay to play or maybe miss a week, or if it's a bit more severe, we'll just have to see how much he misses" he concluded.

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