HAWTHORN vice-captain Liam Shiels admits the Hawks were in a state of shock at quarter-time of last week's devastating loss to Port Adelaide.

Shiels and his teammates failed to score in the opening term – while giving up 41 points – on their way to a three-behind first half that amounted to the lowest half-time tally in club history.

Hawthorn managed to win a third quarter for just the third time this year in 11 matches, but the damage was done as it went on to lose by 51 points, with only 12 scoring shots to 33.

Shiels said the players' intent was lacking early and their fumbles and turnovers proved costly against a Power side with an attacking mindset.

"It was extremely tough – it seems like a long time ago now, last Thursday – but we had to stew on it over the weekend (and it was) very disappointing," Shiels told AFL.com.au.

"They jumped us at the start, but full credit to Port Adelaide – we couldn't really stop them.

"It wasn't until half-time when we could really regroup and, I guess, that's a silver lining out of the performance; that we didn't turn our toes up and we actually played some decent footy in the second half."

The Hawks seemed to be heading in the right direction with three wins in their previous four matches, but finals seem a long shot now at 4-7 and with a League-second-worst percentage of 76.4.

They will revisit one of their early-season nightmares when they host Gold Coast at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

The Suns had never beaten Hawthorn before the 86-point round-three thrashing, which included a club-record 10-goal third quarter.

"We've had a nine-day break, so we'll be able to get some intense training in, which we weren't able to do over the last few weeks," Shiels said.

"They're in some fantastic form – they had a great win on the weekend (against West Coast) – so it will be a big challenge for us this weekend.

"(Brandon) Matera kicked six against us last time and (Gary) Ablett and their midfield is one of their greatest strengths … but they've got a number of good players across the board."

Four-time premiership defender Grant Birchall (knee) could play just his fourth match of the season after a second four-week stint on the sidelines.

Will Langford, Tim O'Brien, Billy Hartung, Kade Stewart and even Teia Miles, who returned from a knee injury in the VFL last week, are others in the mix for selection.

But Shiels, who is averaging 21.5 disposals, including 8.6 contested, said the onus was on everyone to improve if the Hawks wanted to return to the winners' list.

"It's always tough when personally and the team's not performing as well as we could," he said.

"But I assure all the fans out there that the players are training their arses off and trying to get better in every way they can.

"I've been a little bit disappointed (in my own form). Probably similar to the team; it's been a little bit up and down … so I'm looking to have a big second half of the season."