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Doubters won’t divide Hawthorn, says coach Alastair Clarkson

An AFL footballer pumps his fists and roars as he runs after scoring, while teammates celebrate.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has fired a shot at his doubters, saying it’s a fruitless exercise to try to push a divide at the club.

Key points:

  • Hawthorn responded to recent pressure with a 31-point win over Carlton in Perth
  • Critics had been questioning whether coach Alastair Clarkson was the right man for the job during a four straight losses
  • But Clarkson says the commentary on he and his team had not produced discord within the club

Clarkson came under heavy criticism following Hawthorn’s recent four-match losing run, leading to questions about whether it was time for him to leave the Hawks.

Former Hawk Jordan Lewis, who played under Clarkson, was among the critics who questioned whether the four-time premiership coach was the right man to lead Hawthorn through their next rebuild.

Clarkson is determined to see the job through, and he eased the pressure on himself by

The victory boosted Hawthorn’s record to 4-5 ahead of a clash with Fremantle on August 10 in Perth.

Veteran Shaun Burgoyne is in doubt for that match after being taken off late against the Blues with hamstring tightness.

“Given he’s had history in that space before, we took the precaution,” Clarkson said.

“If anything, it’s really slight, but given his history, we thought it’s not worth taking the risk with him late. We need to see how he pulls up.”

An AFL footballer pumps his fists and roars as he runs after scoring, while teammates celebrate.
Jarman Impey (C) kicked a popular goal for the Hawks in his first game since tearing his ACL last July.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Clarkson hopes the win over Carlton will be a turning point for his team.

“It’s just a small step for us. We’ve got a long way to go in this season,” Clarkson said.

“If we can get on a little bit of a roll in terms of playing consistent footy over a period of time, then teams will be very concerned coming up against our side, because they know our capability.”

Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps battled hard for 27 disposals, eight clearances and a goal, but he lacked support.

“We didn’t have enough guys get their job done today. As simple as that,” Blues coach David Teague said.