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Smith predicting tough contest against the Roos

Peter Ryan  August 8, 2016 10:00 AM

R20: Isaac does it with ease Isaac Smith slots through his second goal following a hard run.
AFL 2016 Rd 20 - Melbourne v Hawthorn

Isaac Smith shone for the Hawks on Saturday but the Demons prevailed by 29 points

TRIPLE-premiership Hawk Isaac Smith is predicting North Melbourne will be fired up in a must-win game at the MCG next Saturday and is relishing the prospect of taking them on.

Smith said the narrowing gap between Hawthorn and the chasing pack behind them on the ladder would focus his team's mind as it headed towards the pointy end of the season.

"It sharpens you up a bit," Smith told AFL.com.au.

"The last contest we had against [North Melbourne] was pretty brutal so it's going to be no different again as well. It will be good fun and we can't afford to lose it."

Smith conceded that Hawthorn had not played as well as they could in the past two weeks, beating Carlton in Launceston before going down against the Demons in a shock 29-point loss.

However he said there was no reason to be worried because their standard of play had been high in seven of their nine wins during a streak that lasted from round nine until Saturday.

"Wins can mask [reality] but we're a professional organisation. Even when we win, we look at the things we're not doing well," Smith said.

The result was only Smith's 26th loss in 130 games as he has been a key part of the Hawks’ line-up since making his debut in 2011.

He was once again among the best on Saturday kicking two excellent running goals and gaining 26 disposals, but recognised many areas the Hawks could improve.

"That's a couple of weeks in a row where we haven't kicked too accurately and good footy is good kicking," Smith said.

"Hopefully we can get back to kicking straighter sooner rather than later."