Main content
Website-Header_HFC_Always-v2.png

There are no guarantees: Clarkson

Alastair Clarkson, Senior Coach of the Hawks signs autographs during the Hawthorn Hawks grand final week training session at the Ricoh Centre, Melbourne on September 25, 2014 (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Alastair Clarkson, Senior Coach of the Hawks signs autographs during the Hawthorn Hawks grand final week training session at the Ricoh Centre, Melbourne on September 25, 2014 (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson's pre-Grand Final nerves kicked-in as thousands of supporters flocked to watch the Hawks' final training session on Thursday.

If there was any doubt the brown and gold faithful had 'Grand Final fatigue' before the Hawks' third-straight appearance on the League’s biggest day, it was rapidly dispelled by the passionate hordes who turned up to Waverley to bid their heroes good luck.

Once the players hit the track, all eyes were on Cyril Rioli, who trained strongly in his last-ditch bid to squeeze his way into the 22.

Cult hero Matt Spangher received raucous acclaim and there was no doubting the luckless defender has quickly endeared himself to the brown and gold faithful.

On Saturday, Spangher could be part of his first premiership side after missing out three times – including as a Swan in 2012 and as Hawks emergency last season.

But the adulation reached a crescendo as the Hawks' two-time premiership coach appeared on stage to chants of 'Clarko, Clarko, Clarko'.

An on-edge Clarkson is bidding to join Hawks legends Allan Jeans and John Kennedy Snr by lifting the premiership cup for a third time and revealed he was slightly nervy ahead of Hawthorn's date with destiny.

"I was a little bit jumpy before training. I was thinking to myself 'Gee, what am I jumpy about?'," he said.

"It's funny how just having people around and big crowds always make you a little bit toey and you know that you're on edge to perform well.

"But I suppose on Saturday morning will be the time that I start to get a little bit toey knowing there's just so much on the line.

"There's so much on the line for our players, for our footy club, for all you supporters.

"We want our team to win, we want our boys to do as well as they can. But there's no guarantees in this game.

"It's a tough, competition and we know if we play at our best we'll give it a really good shot."

Clarkson is known for his pre-Grand Final motivation techniques, most notably the famous 'Kill the shark' catch-cry before the Hawks' upset of Geelong in 2008.

With emotions running high ahead of the showdown with Franklin and John Longmire's men – who got the better of the Hawks in 2012 – Clarkson said this season's message will demand clinical execution from his well-drilled outfit.

"We know that Sydney are a terrific side, they've played some great footy throughout the course of the year," he said.

"But we just probably need to be pretty relaxed going into this game because the side that settles first usually gets away to some sort of advantage.

"We want to be that side if we possibly can be.

"So to try and stick to the things that we do really, really well – stick to the basics.

"Hopefully that will deliver a 12th premiership for this great footy club."