Even a casual fan will have noticed that the Hawks have developed a slight trend across the opening month of the 2021 season.
While certainly not through lack of effort, the brown and gold have managed to lose the opening half in every game, then claw their way back into the contest when their backs were against the wall.
Though the 1-3 win loss tally isn’t ideal, Alastair Clarkson’s message to his players is simple; “Hang in there.”
Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday’s Round 5 clash with the Demons, Clarkson said he hopes the first half deficits are an anomaly, and not purely the product of an inexperienced line up.
“We’re concerned that in every game thus far, we’ve been in deficit at half time, and we need to try and correct that,” Clarkson conceded.
“This has happened to Hawthorn sides when we’ve had a really experienced group too. Then we fix it up, we win a couple of games, and it’s gone. I think it’s just an anomaly at this stage.
“It’s been really pleasing that every game we’ve found ourselves somewhere in the contest in the last half, despite giving up margins early in the game.
“In terms of the spirit of the group, their competitiveness and their never say die attitude, they’re fighting games right to the end.
“We’re working hard and we can’t question the endeavour of the players, but we just need to try and make sure we can get ourselves in front earlier in games so that they can chase us a little bit rather than us chase them.”
Not only is the Hawks’ Round 5 match important from a win/loss perspective, but it also marks an integral date on the footy calendar as the club contests the Beyond Blue Cup and promotes conversations around mental health.
“The biggest thing that has changed in my time in the game is taking the mask off this bullet-proof male,” Clarkson said.
“It became a badge of honour for all Australians to swallow your pride, do it tough and never talk about anything that’s going on in your lives.
“In today’s current age, withholding those feelings and emotions isn’t a great thing, you need to talk about them.
“We need to find vehicles, like Beyond Blue, Spud’s game, Tackle your Feelings, where we can talk about this and try to arrest these types of issues that are going on.
“For all people really, but particularly bullet proof men who have got a mask on trying to hide their true emotions.”