Hawthorn Alastair Clarkson has taken the pursuit of more wins in 2020 off the table as a driver as he shifts his focus to finding a “pot of gold” among his list to make a quick jump in 2021.
Captain Ben Stratton and veteran Shaun Burgoyne are likely inclusions for Tuesday’s clash with winless Adelaide as the Hawks back-up just fiv3 days after a second-half fade-out against Essendon.
He baulked at picking star midfielder Jaeger O’Meara, who is still recovering from surgery on his hand, having seen Sydney lose captain Dane Rampe for the season when he returned quickly from a similar injury.
But while the two older players come back, Clarkson said the theme for the remaining four games would be the opposite as he signalled all his efforts are designed to make Hawthorn better next year.
With finals out of the equation for the 15th placed Hawks, Clarkson wants to drill down on the “method and personnel” that could carry his team to it’s next premiership.
And he said that could come sooner than people think.
“Our focus isn’t on the urgency of a win or loss here, otherwise we wouldn’t we shaping our side the way that we are and we’d just be playing all our older guys,” Clarkson said on Monday.
“We’ve got an eye for now and our method and personnel and an eye for the future as well. The win is valuable for us and helps with belief and your culture and all that sort of stuff but it’s not the be all and end all.
“It’s more crucial for those teams fortunate enough to be in the good position of challenging significantly for finals. That’s not us.”
The Hawks have won just four of 13 games this season, and plenty believe they face along climb to get back up the ladder given the older profile of their list.
Clarkson doesn’t see it that way.
“We’ll continue to use the last four games of the season as we did last week and before, as an opportunity to find out some more about our players. To try and find some sort of little pot of gold that will help us on our path to our next piece of silverware,” Clarkson said.
“We don’t know whether that’s going to be in a short period of time, because it can happen very quickly as we have seen with Richmond and the Western Bulldogs recently.
“And hawthorn have done it too on two occasions where they have come from seemingly hopeless positions and won silverware in a short space of time.
“We’ll continue to find that method and personnel to help us jump back up the ladder pretty quickly.”