Five rounds left in the season and our top eight is about as close as can get. Right now, there is just one win separating the second placed Giants and the eighth placed Kangaroos.
Now that we are well and truly entrenched in the run home, let’s take a look at one big weakness for each club in the top eight.
Hawthorn Hawks: Contested possession
While the brilliance and experience of the Hawks leaves not too many weaknesses, there is one common denominator in each of their three losses this season, that being contested possessions.
In their losses this season to the Cats, Giants and the Swans, they have been beaten in contested possessions 475 to 389 – by almost 100. Even more concerning, the cumulative margin of these three matches is 119.
Obviously, the midfields mentioned above are three of the best (if not the best three) in the competition, so an edge in that area may be expected. But it almost certain that these are the teams they will have to beat on the road to a quartet of flags.
The Hawks are in fact 14th in the league for contested possessions, averaging just 135.9 per game. However, they have still found a way to win the majority of their games, with their immense pressure resulting in opposition turnovers.
None the less, it is still an area Clarkson will want to improve upon come Spetember.