‘All you’ve gotta do is make it’: Hawks still dream of success
THREE-time premiership player Isaac Smith insists Hawthorn are determined to achieve further September success and they did their chances no harm with an impressive win against the Crows on Saturday night.
The Hawks missed finals last year for the first time after seven consecutive finals campaigns, with the brown and gold currently sitting outside the top eight on percentage.
The 29-year-old believes the Hawks can contend for the flag, as long as they find a way to sneak inside the top eight.
"Most guys probably know that all you've gotta do is make it," Smith said.
"Especially after seeing what Richmond and the Western Bulldogs have done over the last couple of years.
"Being only the first half of the season, all teams haven't played each other and you're sort of waiting for the competition, just to level out until everyone plays each other, until they play 15-16 games."
"Along with the last couple of years, you've just got to get there and give yourself the best chance."
Smith said the Hawks still have the hunger after winning a three-peat of premierships from 2013-2015.
"I think so, personally the only reason I play the game is to win flags and get some good mates," Smith said.
"I think the majority of people I know who are involved in footy have the same philosophy, so I think the hunger is certainly there and it shows this year."
The midfielder also said that the competition is as even as it even has been in his time in the AFL system.
"I reckon it's the most even the competition has been," Smith said.
"I think anywhere from 1st to 13th-14th at the moment can certainly win on any given day. We went up to Brisbane and they haven't won a game and pantsed us as well, so you don't have to be much off these days to end up losing a game, which I guess is good for fans. But it makes every game tough opposition.
Coming off the bye, Smith feels it has given the side a chance to refresh themselves before the second half of the year.
"The bye always comes at a good time, it would be nice to have one every second week! But, I think it came at a good time, we had a few sore boys and I think it was just good to freshen up," Smith said.
"I think that when you see that teams have the bye then they come back, and if they are playing a team that hasn't had the bye, they look more fresh and ready to go."
Saturday's night win saw the Hawks stun the Crows with a damaging 12-minute burst in the third quarter, thanks to three goals from defender turned forward James Sicily.
"I think what you see is what you get, he's an excitable character and he's great to play with," Smith said of Sicily.
"As soon as he crosses that line, he becomes a competitive beast and gets a bit of white line fever, but he's also got some pretty special talent to play some pretty special football for us, so personally I love playing for him and I know everyone else does as well. He doesn't give an inch, he just wants to win at all costs."
Smith was full of praise for the young Hawks who have begun to stand up and grow within the team.
"I think the most pleasing thing is that especially a few of our youngsters like Sicily, Hardwick and Burton are starting to take another step and really impact games which is more of a pleasing sign and if those guys keep going, who knows."
The night also marked Shaun Burgoyne reaching 350 games, with Smith excited to play in the big occasion.
"It was pretty exciting, to play in a game like that," Smith said.
"I think he's offered so much to the club, he's offered so much to the AFL and the amount of time and work he's put in to the indigenous community and also the Port Adelaide and Hawthorn Football Clubs as well.
"He's a star to play with and I'm not sure if there's been a better player that performs in big games better than he has, so we're pretty lucky and fortunate to play with."
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