HAWTHORN forward Jack Gunston says the Hawks cannot afford to look beyond defeating West Coast on Sunday.
The golden era under legendary coach Alastair Clarkson was built on top-four finishes, but a 0-4 start this season has forced a rethink at Waverley Park.
“If we look too far ahead we’re going to catch ourselves out so the West Coast game is our full focus and we need to get that win on the board,” Gunston said.
“We just need a few things to click and a few people to jell and we’ll get that Hawthorn brand of footy playing the way we want it to.
“It can turn around in a half of footy … it takes a few good days on the track, good moments out in the field and you can get that confidence straight away.”
The Hawks held a closed training session at Waverley Park as preparations ramped up for Sunday’s crunch game at the MCG.
A fifth consecutive loss would be Hawthorn’s worst start to a season since 1970.
Gunston said the Hawks remained “united” but conceded “wavering skills” against Geelong “can dampen the spirits”.
“They’re easy things you can fix out on the training track. It’s execution, skill errors (and) it’s just poor decisions that are easy to fix,” Gunston said.
“It was just poor execution going forward that hurt us and (Geelong) were able to rebound and kick easy goals.”
Gunston defended out-of-sorts goal sneak Cyril Rioli, whose output is well down on previous seasons.
“We’re not getting our hands on the footy so it’s pretty hard to help a little guy like Cyril down forward if we’re not getting the ball down to him,” Gunston said.
“We just need to get our hands on the footy and get that Hawthorn brand of footy playing and I’m sure we’ll see the results.”
Sam Mitchell (leg) remains in doubt to play his first game for West Coast against his old club, but Gunston said he hoped to see the four-time premiership midfielder in action and he would be treated like any other Eagle.
“It will obviously be weird seeing him in a West Coast jumper, that’s for sure,” Gunston said.