Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson says the competitiveness between teams in the competition this year is the highest he has seen.
The Hawks have lost their last three games, all by a margin of 19 points, but Clarkson suggested the club might not be as far away from a return to the top as some might think.
“The parity, in terms of the evenness of the competition, is as close as it’s ever been in my time in the game,” Clarkson told a press conference on Friday.
“That gives everyone hope in a sense that, whilst you feel like you’re a long way away from it, that might not be the case.
“A couple of changes here and there can make an enormous difference to your side and that can have you either drop very, very quickly on the ladder or jump up very quickly.”
Clarkson also highlighted the fact that the last three premiers had all emerged from relative underdog status at the beginning of their respective winning seasons.
The four-time premiership coach also confirmed he had spoken to the playing group in regard to rumours surrounding his coaching future.
“I think sometimes the players need to hear it from me.
“It was said more in jest, it wasn’t something I really needed to address.
“But I think we’ve said enough about that both from an administration and board, as well as me saying I’ve made a commitment to this footy club and our group of players.
“It’s only when someone within the footy club, even within the next three years, comes and taps me on the shoulder that I would move on.”