Saints, beware Hawks scorned

In the past two seasons no side that has run into Hawthorn after a regular-season loss by the Hawks has come within five goals of the brown and golds.

St Kilda faces Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium on Friday night after the ladder-leader’s loss to Richmond on Saturday.

Since the Hawks’ round two loss to Geelong in 2012, the Hawks have bounced back with wins on six occasions, including twice this season. They thumped West Coast by 50 points in round two and Port Adelaide by 45 points in round 16.

Injured pride: Will Hawk Brent Guerra bounce back in time for Friday's St Kilda clash?

Injured pride: Will Hawk Brent Guerra bounce back in time for Friday’s St Kilda clash? Photo: Getty Images

The Hawks reviewed the Richmond match on Monday and ruckman David Hale said he was certain his team would be much better when the ball is bounced against the Saints on Friday.

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”I’d say Clarko [coach Alastair Clarkson] will have us pretty fired up from the start this week,” Hale said. ”The players were pretty down last match so hopefully this week we can bounce back sharply.”

Liam Shiels (ankle) and Grant Birchall (knee) may press for selection this week after missing several weeks through injury while former Saint Brent Guerra is expected to play after looking injured against the Tigers, Guerra was instead suffering from a cramp.

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Hale said he didn’t know the extent of Luke Hodge’s thumb injury.

St Kilda’s Rhys Stanley is unlikely to face the Hawks after injuring his collarbone in a fall during the Saints’ loss to Brisbane Lions.

Hale said the Hawks had their colours lowered against Richmond but would be up for the clash with the Saints. ”We are confident that Tigers’ game was just one out of the box,” Hale said.

”Last year we got a kick in the pants from Richmond as well, then we went on to play some pretty good footy so now we will look to play three or four hard games going into the finals and then hopefully have a pretty good September.”

The Hawks weren’t the only premiership contender to lose at the weekend with Geelong falling to North Melbourne and Essendon taking a thrashing from Collingwood.

But Hale believes his side’s poor game was simply the combination of coming off a big win over Essendon and being over-run by a stellar performance from the Tigers.

Hale added that the loss was a reminder of what can happen should the Hawks have a bad day in the finals.

The Sydney Morning Herald

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