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Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

11:17pm Mar 27, 2014

Malthouse rues costly mistakes

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Clarko has Divinyls inspiration after win

Mark Macgugan  April 28, 2013 9:17 PM

Post-match: Hawks Watch Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson's post-match press conference
HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson called on The Divinyls to help describe his feelings on Sunday night, admitting his team had trodden a fine line between pleasure and pain in sneaking past North Melbourne by three points in their twilight clash at the MCG.

The Hawks were well beaten in several key indicators, including clearances (25-44), inside 50s (47-63) and contested possessions (126-149), but still managed to snatch victory.

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In his post-match assessment, Clarkson unwittingly referred to much-mourned Australian rock goddess Chrissie Amphlett, who died a week ago.

"Who sung that song, 'There's a fine line between pleasure and pain'? I tell you what, there was a fine line today," Clarkson said.

"We could have been sitting here absolutely spewing.

"Perhaps North did deserve to win in terms of all the KPIs that they won.

"But to the credit of our guys, we've lost some of those close contests over the journey, so it was pleasing to get one today."

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Clarkson said he wouldn't dwell on what went wrong at the stoppages, prepared to write his midfielders' performance off as a down day against good opposition.

"We need to do some work in that area of the game, but up until now we've been pretty good," he said.

"There are lots of things to analyse about the game, but probably we'd analyse it a bit deeper had we lost.

"But because we won, we'll probably just move on, because our form hasn't been too bad up until this point in time."

Several of Hawthorn's key players had quiet days, with Lance Franklin held goalless for just the sixth time since the start of 2008 and skipper Luke Hodge collecting only seven disposals to three-quarter time before finishing with a strong 10-possession final term.

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"We had a few guys that were down," Clarkson said.

"'Bud' was down, Sam [Mitchell] was down, 'Hodgey' wasn't a great contributor for us early on.

"He was a bit fumbly, which isn't normally the way he goes about his footy.

"That's why we're pleased to get the points. It's one out of the box in terms of those guys.

"Most of them have been playing really good footy for us. They didn't have such a great day today, but at least we got the points."

Click here to vote for the three best Hawthorn players from the match

Hawthorn is now nearing the end of a testing opening seven rounds in which it faces all seven other 2012 finalists.

It sits 4-1, with Adelaide and the Sydney Swans to come in the next fortnight.

The Hawks are highly likely to be without Cyril Rioli for both of those clashes, after he strained his right hamstring in the final quarter against the Kangaroos, but should regain Brad Sewell from his hamstring injury.

"We're pleased that we're winning, but I don't think you'll ever find a coach that's really pleased until you win that last day in September," Clarkson said.

"It's more a process for us of looking at our game; the things we're doing well, the things we need to improve on, and hopefully get as many wins as we can, add them up at the end of the year, see where we qualify for finals, and then hope that we're playing really good footy at the pointy end of the season."