Hawthorn were comprehensive in their defeat of Sydney on the weekend as they took the next step towards a 2011 AFL Premiership.
The key to their success in the game, and indeed all year, is their ability to shut down the attacking opportunities their opposition has up front.
That was exactly the case on Saturday as the swans were starved of shots on goal and Franklin and friends were able to take pot shots at the other end.
The Hawks defenders came under fire after their loss to Geelong for not being up to scratch but their numbers showed they’d made vast improvements where it mattered.
Josh Gibson was especially impressive as he racked up an AFL record of 21 spoils.
Grant Birchall says there’s no reason they won’t be able to continue their good form going into next week against Collingwood either.
“There was a bit of a focus going into the game last night to kill the high ball,” he said.
“I thought we did that pretty consistently throughout the night last night, which was great.
“‘Gibbo’ in particular was outstanding.
“He’s had a great season and hopefully he can continue that this Friday night.”
The task is probably going to be tougher this weekend though with the likes of Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes proving tough to handle all year.
“It’s obviously going to be a big challenge, with Cloke and Dawes and those guys in good touch,” he said.
“We’ll have to help each other out as best we can down there.
“I’m sure that if we work as a team, that sort of thing will sort itself out.”
The two teams only met once in the 2011 regular season with Collingwood running out winners by 41 points in round 15.
“I guess anything can happen from here on in,” Birchall said.
“We’ll go in confident.
“We’re fresh and we’re hungry, so we’ll give it our best shot.”
Collingwood are set to be big favourites for the game with online bookmaker Luxbet meaning there’s plenty of value for Hawthorn should you wish to take it.
Considering the momentum they’ve built up coming through this week there’s every chance they’ll play a big role, especially given Collingwood are still coming off the huge drubbing by Geelong a couple of weeks ago.
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