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Let's bring the pressure, says Issie

Isaac Smith ahead of Semi Final clash Vice-Captain Isaac Smith spoke to the media ahead of their semi final clash with the Demons on Friday night.

ISAAC Smith has backed the senior Hawthorn players who failed to fire against Richmond on Thursday night to respond strongly when the Hawks face Melbourne in a do-or-die Semi Final this Friday night.

A number of key Hawks including Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Shaun Burgoyne didn't make the usual impact in the 31-point loss to the Tigers.

"There was a lot of people down on the weekend, but I think the guys you might be referring to, I don't think I've seen them put two bad performances together," Smith said on Monday morning.

"I'd expect them to play pretty well on Friday."

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Young Hawks Blake Hardwick, Harry Morrison, Conor Nash and James Worpel were among the group of AFL players to make their finals debuts over the weekend, while Jaeger O'Meara also ran out for his first game in September.

Smith said the heat the Tigers piled on, particularly early in the game, would have contributed to important lessons heading into a cut-throat final.

"It was a pretty hot game on the weekend and a massive crowd, so you'd expect they'd have some really good moments and some moments they can really learn from," he said.

"I think we all had those moments on the weekend, and I said straight after the game that it was probably one of the hottest finals I've been involved in, especially that first half.

"There was a fair bit of pressure and it was a lot of fun.

"We had to play the side that's been the best side for probably the last 40 to 50 rounds of AFL football."

"We had a free swing, we didn't play our best and they played pretty well."

Melbourne's win over Geelong on Friday night featured the Demons' style that resembles the Tigers' – manic pressure and a swarm-like mentality.

By comparison, the Hawks are renowned for their controlled and clean style, relying on hitting targets and moving the ball with precision.

However, Smith said they had the ability to go head to head with any team when it came to pressure, and were prepared to get down and dirty if that's what it took.

"I think we're OK at pressure as well, so that's a question you can ask the Demons," he said.

"We've just got to match it.

"We probably matched it with Richmond for the first two quarters on the weekend and then they got control of the game and probably played the conditions better.

"I think it's going to be a nice, dry night and hopefully we get our game going.

"I don't think we need to get it on our terms early on, we just need to get a feel of the game and make sure that we're in the game, especially around half-time.

"We probably let ourselves slip in the last 10 minutes of the second quarter, which gave Richmond that momentum."

Defender Ben Stratton will likely miss with the right hamstring injury he sustained in the third quarter, with David Mirra and Taylor Duryea held over from the VFL on Sunday as potential replacements.

Smith said Ryan Schoenmakers remained a "day by day" proposition after missing the qualifying final with Achilles soreness that flared up after the Hawks' round 23 win over Sydney.

He also said he wasn't aware of any concern over Blake Hardwick and the hip he had treated on during the third quarter.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs