BY ANY small forward'sstandards, Luke Breust has had another excellent season.
The 22-year-old Hawk hasplayed every game, booting 38 goals (ranked equal-third at the club) and layingan impressive 100 tackles (ranked first).
But while he prideshimself on his forward pressure and has been pleased to deliver on that front, thereis one thing that has continued to bug Breust a little - set shots.
The New South Welshman hasbooted 18.19 from marks or free kicks in 2013, a hitrate of 48.6 per cent.
It puts him in the bottom three for accuracyamong the top 50 players for goals from set shots this season.
Although far from panicked, Breust knows it'san issue, and has worked hard to rectify it with the help of Hawks highperformance coach David Rath and assistant coach Adem Yze.
"In the middle of theseason I changed to try and kick a hook, and then I went back to my naturalball flight, which has got a little left to right to it," Breust told AFL.com.au this week.
"I went back to thatlater in the season, and that's when it started to work.
"But on the weekend Ijust pulled a couple left.
"I think thatprobably happens when I'm trying to kick it too far – I might be outside mydistance.
"Around the 50m arcis right on my limit.
"Inside that, I'mpretty comfortable, but maybe outside that I should be looking to passoff."
Far from rattled, Breuststill has confidence in his ability to convert from set shots, and in hisroutine, which he has not felt the need to change.
"I still think it's pretty reliable – it's just that it's let me down afew times this year," he said.
"But I still feel confident when I'm at the top of my mark that I can goback and kick the goal.
"I've just got tokeep practising each week, and hopefully that practice pays off on game day."
Breust's two misses in last Friday night's qualifying final against the SydneySwans – both from just inside the 50m line – hardly mattered as the Hawkspowered away to win by 54 points to qualify for a third straight preliminaryfinal.
Although the signs aregood that the club is peaking at the right time, Breust referred back to lastseason when an easy qualifying final win over Collingwood was followed by aflat performance a fortnight later against Adelaide.
"There's still a lotof work to be done," he said.
"The preliminaryfinal and Grand Final are the two most important games, so we can't rest on ourlaurels.
"It's prettyimportant that we don't get ahead of ourselves.
"We'll watch the game[between Geelong and Port Adelaide] with a fair bit of interest to find out whowe'll play in the prelim, and then it will be head down and concentrate onthem.
"Whichever opponentit is, it's going to be a pretty tough match."Twitter:@AFL_MarkM