- from afl.com.au
ALASTAIR Clarkson has suggested "catastrophic change" at Hawthorn if his misfiring side is unable to respond to its latest thrashing and breathe life back into a faltering 2017 campaign.
Following a 75-point thumping at the hands of a rampant St Kilda side in Launceston, Clarkson pulled no punches when expressing his disappointment at Hawthorn's inability to compete for four quarters.
"It sounds terrible when you lose by 75 points, but the margin could have been worse than that," he told reporters at University of Tasmania Stadium.
Coming on the back of a 50-point victory against West Coast a week ago, the nature of Saturday's loss – Hawthorn's third defeat by more than 12 goals this year – saw Clarkson criticise his side's emerging habit of falling away in the face of a determined opponent.
"I don't know whether we thought we were just going to roll up and present like we did last week," he said. "It's a new challenge every week and bottom line is, surprise or not, get yourself ready for a contest every time you play.
"We just didn't look like we were ready for the contest anywhere near as much like St Kilda did. Sometimes that's just between the ears."
"They were just so much hungrier than what we were."
The Saints were able to control possession and dominated around the ground from the outset, but it was during an eight-goals-to-one third quarter onslaught that they really made the Hawks look second rate.
"That for me reflects a side that will put up a fight when the game's there early on, but if the opposition continues to fight we just fall away and fall away in a big way and that's been really, really disappointing," Clarkson said.
"If we continue to have performances like that there will need to be catastrophic change and that's not usually the way we go about doing things.
"Whether that's injection of younger players, change of game style, whatever it is, we need to try to find different ways to go about it. We just can't continue to accept mediocre performances like we got today."
As well as inspiring his side to hunt the ball and work harder at the contest, Clarkson's bottom line will be to demand his players improve their willingness to compete all over the ground.
"The frustration is you need to compete in this game and we've had several games this year where we've competed okay for small periods of the game and then just let the game fall away.
"I don't think there's any secret among opposition club's coaches, we are the worst third quarter team in the comp by an absolute mile.
"This week when we were seriously challenged we responded for a little bit in the second quarter and then fell away so poorly in the third.
"Listen, it was circle work in the last part of the game.
"We need to work out ways to try to correct that because we are going nowhere quickly right at the present time."