JOSH Gibson says Hawthorn's players need to harness their aggression to avoid running into more trouble with the Match Review Panel.
But Essendon midfielder Brendon Goddard doesn't expect anything less than a brutal stoush when the Bombers clash with the Hawks at the MCG on Saturday.
Gibson and fellow defender Ben Stratton copped $1000 fines from the MRP for striking Crows smalls Charlie Cameron and Eddie Betts respectively during last Thursday night's win at Adelaide Oval.
The incidents – following striking suspensions for Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis after a bruising round five triumph over North Melbourne - again raised suggestions the 'unsociable' and intimidating Hawks of 2008 were making a comeback.
But speaking at a joint press conference with Goddard, Gibson denied Hawthorn had focused on "going harder".
"It's not great getting fined and we don't want to be getting reported. But there's a fine line between playing hard and going over the edge and maybe a few of us just went a little bit too hard on the weekend," Gibson said.
"But as far as unsociable goes, I don't think that's the case.
"I don't think it was any different to any other week – it's just Thursday night footy, there's more cameras."
Essendon stunned the Hawks in a two-point thriller in round two and, with the 13th-placed Dons trying to stop their season slipping away, Goddard said he's preparing for a fierce contest this Saturday.
"You expect a game like that against Hawthorn – that's why they're a back-to-back premiership team," Goddard said.
"We don't expect anything less."
After a rollercoaster start to 2015, the Hawks have righted the ship with three-straight wins and are bearing down on the top four with a 7-4 record.
The Bombers' woeful form has been a stark contrast, with Essendon losing its past three games and only booting 21 goals total in defeats to Richmond, Geelong and West Coast.
Goddard said the Dons (4-7) have been tweaking their playing style and freshened-up mentally over the bye weekend in a bid to turn their flagging season around.
"The last couple of weeks we've changed a few things in terms of our plan and our preparation during the week," he said.
"With some changes, you'd hope there's some change in our performances.
"I won’t touch on a few of the things we're changing in terms of our football, or our structures and gameplan, but essentially it's more about the mental things.
"When you're in that downward spiral and lacking confidence, the mental side of it plays a bigger part than most (people) think.
"Looking back, I wish we had done it earlier. Even when you’re winning, it's important to stimulate the guys and your footy team more, because it's pretty repetitive and monotonous at times."
Gibson and Goddard were speaking at a rib-eating contest at Ribs & Burgers in Hawthorn, where they helped raise money for the Buy a Bale charity supporting rural communities and farmers.