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Past won't be a factor, says Clarkson

Jennifer Phelan  March 31, 2013 12:04 PM

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Despite being under an injury cloud, the Hawks say Brian Lake will make his brown and gold debut against Geelong

THE HAWKS won't draw on their recent record against the Cats when looking for motivation ahead of Monday's blockbuster between the sides at the MCG.  

Alastair Clarkson's men have lost the past nine encounters against Geelong, including both of last year's two games by two points.

On Monday, they'll enter the game with one AFL debutant – midfielder Jed Anderson – and former Western Bulldogs backman Brian Lake for the first time in brown and gold.

Clarkson hopes small changes to the team and a level of perseverance will help his side reverse the fortunes of the past four seasons and claim a win against the Cats for the first time since the 2008 Grand Final.

"We're not worried about the past. It's all about tomorrow and what we can do in the future," Clarkson said on Sunday.

"They've had our measure the last little while but it's not like they've wiped us off the park. We've been a pretty good side and hopefully go a little bit better tomorrow.

"We need to persevere. Even our side from this time last year is a little bit different again.

"We're playing a first gamer in Jed Anderson and another young player in Bradley Hill, who has gained some exposure to the level over the past 12 months.

"We're hopeful a couple of changes to our side may help us get across the line against them.

"We always have great games against Geelong and we just haven't been able to get over the post in the crucial last minutes of games.

"We need to get better at that but they've a very, very good side and it promises to be another great contest tomorrow."

In six of the Cats' recent nine triumphs, the Hawks have led at some stage in the final quarter.

Geelong midfielder and Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel said the close nature of the matches between the sides since the 2008 Grand Final came because of the similarities between the teams.

"Both sides match up really well and have slightly contrasting styles, which you see in all of those games; one side will get on top for a 10-minute patch then the other side will come back," Bartel told Channel 7's Game Day.

"We've just been lucky enough at the right time when the final siren goes to be in front.

"They've got stars across every line and we really enjoy trying to take it up to the Hawks.

"We've just been fortunate in a couple of those with kicks late in the game that we've managed to come out on top."

Geelong forward Tom Hawkins knows all about nailing one of those late kicks, having booted his sixth goal for the game on the siren in round 19 last year to give the Cats a two-point win.

Clarkson said while Lake had been recruited to play on forwards such as Hawkins, it wasn't as simple as shutting down the big Cat.

"Hopefully [Lake] will acquit himself well," he said.

"Hawkins has turned into an outstanding player in the competition and whoever plays on him, no matter what stage of the game it is or stage of the season, it's a formidable task so we'll see how we go."

"We can't just focus on one player in Hawkins. Their small players in the past have done enormous damage.

"It's not like they're one dimensional in their front half; they're potent right across the board."

Clarkson said Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge had pulled up "ok" after his VFL hit-out against the Casey Scorpions on Saturday, and would "hopefully get some more game time next week".

Brian Lake is a defender in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 76.25 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.

Jennifer Phelan is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow her on Twitter @AFL_JenPhelan.