Hawks keen to get Eagles on their home turf

They’ll review the tapes of their qualifying final loss to West Coast but Shaun Burgoyne says Hawthorn will all but dismiss the result as they prepare for an AFL grand final against the Eagles.

West Coast outclassed the reigning premiers in a 32-point win three weeks ago that felt like a lot more in the last meeting between the grand finalists.

As Alastair Clarkson’s side prepares to fight for an historic third-straight premiership, Burgoyne said on Sunday his side was living in the “here and now” and wasn’t short of confidence.

It’s Hawthorn vs West Coast and we pick the winner
Hawthorn too tough for Fremantle in the West

Burgoyne said playing the decider at the MCG and the club’s form since that loss has the Hawks well poised to salute once more.

“A week’s a long time in footy, let alone two or three,” he said.

“It’s our home ground, we know the oval well … we can’t wait to get out there and we feel we play our best footy there.”

Hawthorn’s 27-point win over Fremantle was the first interstate win by a Victorian side in a preliminary final.

Burgoyne said breaking new ground wasn’t a factor in keeping the Hawks motivated in 2015 but winning a flag for new players was.

On Friday night, a trio of Hawks yet to win a grand final – Ryan Schoenmakers, Billy Hartung and James Frawley – competed well for the club and Burgoyne suggested the senior players wanted to reward their teammates’ effort.

“From the first day of pre-season, we spoke about how we’re going to drive this group forward for the rest of the year,” he said.

“Part of that is the younger players … really pushing for spots and creating a really good culture.

“Having Billy and James in the team adds to that, we’ve got Schoenmakers as well.

“Those guys are burning to get (a winner’s medal).”

The Hawks are also downplaying the impact of playing an extra match in September owing to their qualifying final loss.

Burgoyne said the group was match-hardened by their route to the grand final and he wanted to play each week.

That extra game has pushed the former Port Adelaide star into rarified AFL air.

Should Burgoyne take his place in Saturday’s decider, only Michael Tuck will have played in more finals.

It’ll be the sixth grand final for the Darwin-born midfielder and fourth with Hawthorn in as many years.

Burgoyne he was constantly reminded of his record-setting finals achievements but grand final week still affected him.

“You still get nerves because you’re so close to achieving that dream again and feeling what it’s like,” he said.


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