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Clarkson says Hawks will play 'anywhere, anytime'

Clarkson: 'We'll play anywhere, anytime' Alastair Clarkson says the Hawks' aim has always been to finish in the top four
James Frawley had a break as a concussion sub for the second week running - ${keywords}
James Frawley had a break as a concussion sub for the second week running

HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson has downplayed the finals significance of his side’s gritty interstate triumph over flag rivals West Coast on Saturday night, saying his team is not obsessed by the lure of a top-two finish.

The reigning premier is third, but moved to within two points of the second-placed Eagles in the race for the crucial home advantage in the first week of the finals with a 13.10 (88) to 11.8 (74) triumph at a sodden Domain Stadium.

The come-from-behind victory put the Hawks, who play Geelong, Port Adelaide (home), Brisbane (home) and Carlton in their final four games, in the box seat to snatch second place.

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West Coast has a tougher finish to its home and away season with games against Fremantle, Western Bulldogs (home), Adelaide (away) and St Kilda (home).

"We like to think that it doesn’t matter where we finish in the top four or whether we've got to go interstate, that’s just the luck of the draw," Clarkson said.

"If you work hard enough and play well enough you'll finish high up the ladder, but if you don’t you might have to play interstate and if that's the case we’ll play anywhere, anytime and try to acquit ourselves as well as we possibly can."

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The Hawks, who are striving for a hat-trick of flags in 2015, won their past two premierships from the top two.

West Coast went into the game six premiership points clear of the Hawks and were in front for most of the night before the visitors edged home in the final term.

WATCH: Alastair Clarkson's full media conference here

"If they had won tonight, they would have gone 10 points clear with four games to go and it’s pretty hard to reel them in from that point in time," Clarkson said.

"In the context of that it's important for us to get the gap between us and West Coast a little bit closer, but our goal all year has been to finish in the top four. If we can finish as high as we can in that top four then that's a real bonus for us, but it's really getting that double chance and if that takes us interstate in the first week of the finals then so be it.

"But we still have a chance now to try and finish as high up as we can. If we had lost tonight it would have made that really tough."

Clarkson also praised defender James Frawley, who came from the ground in the second term after a high hit from Eagle Mark LeCras.

 

LeCras was reported for the incident while Frawley was substituted under the concussion rule but returned after half-time.

The former Melbourne defender also came from the ground in the Hawks loss to Richmond last week, as a concussion substitute at a similar time in the second term.

"With (late withdrawal Brian) Lake out of the side we needed to make sure Frawley could stay out there as much as he possibly could," Clarkson said.

"It wasn't ideal that he went off for that period of time, but he played out the game well.

"He was an important contributor for us. Even though (his direct opponent Josh) Kennedy still kicked four goals, there were just some slingshot plays that West Coast got where they had the ball drive out the back and not too many players could do anything."