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Hawks' warning: We can still get better

Dead-eye Hawk, Blue Monday and more Matt Thompson brings you all the very latest footy news
Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL round 04 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Hawthorn Hawks at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast on April 12, 2014. (Photo: Jason O'Brien/AFL Media)
Hawk Jack Gunston kicked five straight last week against the Suns
HAWTHORN dead-eye Jack Gunston has sounded a clear warning to Geelong ahead of Monday's blockbuster, claiming the Hawks' juggernaut is still gaining momentum.
 
The Hawks and Cats are the only unbeaten teams heading into round five and they meet on Easter Monday at the MCG.
 
Hawthorn is perched atop the ladder and boasts an average winning margin of 52 points – swelled by a 99-point reality check handed out to Gold Coast last Saturday night.
 
The Hawks' stellar form has already sparked debate about whether the reigning premiers are a better team than last year.
 
While Gunston wouldn't be drawn on that comparison, he believes the Hawks are getting better by the week.
 
"We're playing some good footy in patches, we're probably not just stringing it out for four quarters at the moment," Gunston told AFL.com.au's Footy Feed.
 
"We let Gold Coast probably kick about four or five goals in the first quarter, so there's definitely room for improvement."
 
Given Hawthorn and Geelong's history, few would expect anything other than a ferocious arm-wrestle on Monday.
 
Hawthorn famously ended the 'Kennett Curse' in last year's five-point preliminary final triumph, cutting a string of 11-straight Geelong wins since the 2008 Grand Final.
 
The gripping nature of those matches and average losing margin of fewer than nine points during Geelong's streak has forged one of the great modern rivalries.
 
"I think both teams do (get themselves up to play each other)," Gunston said.
 
"It's always a close encounter – I think it's been close since the '08 Grand Final.
 
"I think it's built a great rivalry over the years that no one wants to walk off the field as a loser.
 
"It's a fierce contest and one that both teams look forward to.
 
"You go out there expecting another good battle for four quarters and you've really got to bring your best game possible.
 
"We're slowly building towards that, we haven't been great early this year and on the weekend we were a lot better."
 
Gunston kicked five goals straight in the Hawks' big win over the Suns, sparking further discussion about whether he's the best set shot for goal in the competition.
 
In his 60 career games – including 14 at Adelaide - the 193cm forward has slotted 115.55 for a conversion rate above 67 per cent.
 
The former Crow revealed he enjoys the mental pressure of staring down the big sticks.
 
"I pride myself on my goalkicking and I enjoy taking shots under pressure," he said.
 
"I'm happy with the way I'm kicking at the moment and more than happy to have a shot whenever."
 
Gunston's unusual grip, he places his right hand above his left on the ball, is a hybrid borrowed from other players' styles – but there's plenty of thought behind his approach.
 
Since arriving at Hawthorn before the 2012 season, he's worked hard with goalkicking coach Adam Yze and skills specialist David Rath.
 
"It was just a combination of watching different people how they hold the ball, how I can get more revolutions on the ball – just little things that can take away any deviation once it hits my foot," Gunston said.
 
"That's the grip I came up with and I made a proper routine when I came here of a certain amount of steps and how I want to approach going into goal.
 
"At the top of your mark you want to feel as comfortable as you can and that's how I feel at the moment."
 
Meanwhile, Gunston has echoed teammate Matt Suckling's claims that Hawthorn is being driven this season by a group of players who missed out on last year's flag.
 
But he also believes the 19 players remaining at the club from last year's premiership 22 are just as keen to scale the mountain once more.
 
"Once you experience that sort of emotion of winning the Grand Final you want to do it again," Gunston said.
 
"To experience it again but also to get the guys who were unlucky and had some misfortune … to get one with them and share it with them would obviously be great, but there's a long way to go."