Hawthorn Senior Coach Sam Mitchell has fronted the media ahead of his side’s clash with GWS on Saturday afternoon at University of Tasmania Stadium. 

Mitchell spoke about the excitement of heading back to our home-away-from home in Tasmania, the challenge of facing the Giants, and the progress the team is making.

We summarised the key points from his press conference below.

On going head-to-head with GWS 

“We lost to them twice last year and they were both pretty good games. We lost a close game in Gather Round and then we played them up at their deck. We know that their best is as good as we’ve seen. Their start of the season was phenomenal where they were just outstanding, they moved the ball so well and defensively, obviously signing (Sam) Taylor for a long extension will give them some confidence. They’ve had the bye so they’ll reassess some things I’m sure. We know that we’re going to have to play our best footy. We’re at a point where we’re playing a little bit better but we know that we’re this close to falling away and this close to being able to compete with the best and the challenge is right in front of us.”

On returning to Tasmania for the second time this season

“The thing about going to Tassie and going to Launceston is we’ve got great confidence there because our performances have been good. We know that it’s a comfortable surrounding, we stay in the same hotel, we have the same meeting times, same meeting rooms, even the same hotel room every time we go there pretty much so when you have that level of comfort in an area, we know that the fans always turn up for us and are always supportive every time we have our Burra’s Yama or our Captain’s Run there. We know that there will be Hawks fans there. When you’ve got that level of comfort in your home ground, it makes for a feeling of confidence and hopefully we can take that into the game.”

On the team’s progress

“I think every coach wishes they were undefeated at this stage of the season. As a coach, you’re always looking for utopia and you want perfection. But I’m pleased with the progress. If you look at the last period, we’ve been able to be more consistent through quarters and through games so that’s a step in the right direction. I’ve mentioned it before but we’re far from a finished product. I still think there’s a lot of development in our group. That’s on an individual basis - you look at some of our individual players and how much footy they’ve played, they’re going to improve. But also collectively, the amount of footy we play together will continue to grow and when we see teams who play a lot of footy together over an extended period of time, they know where each other are and we’re getting to that point but it's taking time.”

Watch Mitchell’s full press conference below.