WITH the 'Batmobile' doing a lap of Waverley Park to serve as a reminder of Hawthorn's brighter days, coach Alastair Clarkson conceded he may have overplayed the youth card in their crushing AFL loss to St Kilda last round.

The iconic blue car, which transported singer Angry Anderson before Hawthorn's 1991 Grand Final win over West Coast, returned to the ground to mark the 30th anniversary of the triumph.

The Hawks and Eagles meet again at the MCG on Sunday, with the home side looking to rebound from a 69-point loss.

Clarkson said his selections weren't able to cover the loss of injured veteran stars Chad Wingard, Jaeger O'Meara and Shaun Burgoyne.

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"There's this balancing threshold between how much youth you've got in your side and we probably just tipped slightly over the edge of that last week where it just became a little bit too much," Clarkson said on Thursday.

"It all depends on your group and your leadership but just in a quick space of time taking those three out of your side all at the one time probably pushed us over the edge.

"Irrespective we just didn't feel like we played the brand of footy we'd like although a lot of that had to do with St Kilda, who played some terrific footy."

Denver Grainger-Barras of the Hawks drives the 'Batmobile' from the 1991 AFL Grand Final as Hawks head coach Alastair Clarkson (L) reacts. Picture: AFL Photos

He said they were "sitting ducks" with the gamble of playing 20-year-old Finn Maginness on Saints ace Jack Steele not paying off.

Three-time premiership star Jack Gunston made his first appearance since off-season back surgery and Clarkson expected him to be better against West Coast.

"He had some cobwebs ... he hadn't played for six months and it showed but he will be better for the run and hopefully he will be better over the next six weeks."

Hawks legends Gary Ayres (C), Darrin Pritchard (L) and Andrew Gowers (R) pose for a photograph with the 1991 AFL Premiership Cup in front of the 'Batmobile' from the 1991 AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Clarkson said both fans and players needed to be patient before they could expect another 'Batmobile' occasion.

"You can't be on top of the ladder all the time and we've had a fair crack at it over the past 50 years, not just 10 or 15," he said.

"Part of the journey is the struggle and we're prepared to embrace that but we're also of the view we can play better footy than we're playing at the moment."