HAWTHORN is unfazed by the prospect of an Adelaide team gunning for its first victory of the season on Tuesday afternoon, with coach Alastair Clarkson saying the side's focus will remain on future development.
Time is running out for the winless Crows to record a victory this season, but their clash with a Hawks side also anchored within the bottom four on the ladder at the Adelaide Oval could provide their best remaining opportunity.
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Adelaide has enjoyed a nine-day break heading into the fixture, while Hawthorn will be forced to respond from a five-day turnaround, with Clarkson wary of a Crows outfit that will be priming themselves for this particular encounter.
"It's quite possible (that they will set themselves for Tuesday), we can't control what Adelaide is doing," Clarkson said.
"We can only control what we're doing and focus on the things we need to focus on. Our focus isn't on the urgency of a win or a loss here, otherwise we wouldn't be shaping our side the way we are with a five-day break. We'd be playing all of our older guys.
"We've got an eye for the now and our method and our personnel, but we've got an eye for our future, too. That's why over the last two or three weeks, particularly with a compressed season, we've had so many changes to our side.
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"The win is valuable for us and helps with your belief and your culture, but it's not the be-all and end-all. We won't be focusing on Adelaide and what they're trying to achieve out of the season, it's more to do with us.
"At the moment, winning is valuable for us but it's not absolutely crucial. It's more crucial for those teams who are fortunate enough to be in the good position of challenging significantly for finals, where every win is at an absolute premium in terms of the ladder.
"Unfortunately for us this year, that's not us. We'll just control the things that we can control. Where our philosophy lies is preparation for 2021 and beyond, rather than for 2020."
Hawthorn had initially been hopeful that Jaeger O'Meara would return from a hand injury to make himself available for Tuesday's clash, but Clarkson categorically ruled out the prospect of his star midfielder recovering in time.
"He won't play this week," Clarkson said.
"We're not sure of the full extent of Dane Rampe's hand injury and what happened there, but it's a difficult one. You look at Tom Lynch, who came back from a fracture in his hand and played the next week. Dane did too, so one worked and one didn't.
"Given where our season is at and we can't qualify for finals, it's foolish to take any risks with that. His hand is a really important part of his craft, so we'll take as long as we need to in terms of when he's going to be right.
"We were hopeful it might only be the one week, but he had a lot of swelling. He actually had two plates inserted in that fractured bone in his hand, whether or not the second plate is the reason why it's taking a little bit long.
"That's going to repair really well, but we just don't want to put him at risk prematurely. He'll miss at least this game and we'll see how he goes coming up for the St Kilda game on Sunday."