Hawks out to right home wrongs

MENTAL GAME: Tim Coenraad says the Hawks need to make the most of their home court advantage in the run to the play-offs. Picture: Getty Images
MENTAL GAME: Tim Coenraad says the Hawks need to make the most of their home court advantage in the run to the play-offs. Picture: Getty Images

ILLAWARRA swingman Tim Coenraad says the Hawks need to bridge the hefty gap between their best and worst performances to make the most of their favourable run into the play-offs.

Not for the first time this season, the Hawks produced a miraculous form turnaround to defeat Melbourne by 18 points last Saturday, just 48 hours after tossing up their worst performance of the season in a 32-point flogging at the hands of Adelaide. 

It was just the latest instance of the Hawks turning water into wine this season and, with the finals race heating up, Coenraad said finding that elusive consistency is more a mental battle than a physical one for his side.

“We know we’re a good team when we come in with the right mindset and I think against Melbourne we had that air of desperation that most teams have when they’re coming off a couple of losses,” Coenraad said.

“I think right now it’s about trying to bottle or harness that desperation. You shouldn’t need to lose two games to have it, it should be something that comes with every game.

“The Adelaide loss was embarrassing. Looking at it on tape we were all left saying, ‘I can’t believe that was us out there’ and then you look at the stark contrast in the Melbourne game.

“It’s not anything physical. We play 11 guys [deep] which I don’t think any other team does so we can get fresh bodies out there all the time so it’s definitely not about fatigue.

“It’s not about the scout or the game plan either, it’s about our mindset going in and right now we’re our own biggest enemy in that regard.

“We’ve seen what we can do when we play with that sense of urgency, we’re really aggressive, we play smart and we’re really hard to beat.

“It’s all abut us coming in with the correct mindset to really get after some people and have some nastiness about us.”

The Hawks victory over Melbourne was their fifth win from nine games at home in a season where they’ve fared better on the road than at the WEC.

With five of their final seven games to come on their home floor, including the first of two clashes against Brisbane on Friday, Coenraad said his side need to make the most of the advantage over the closing rounds.

“There’s definitely been some games we’ve let slip [at home],” Coenraad said.

“We obviously love playing here and I think a couple of times we haven’t had that sense of urgency and we just think we’re just going to come into our home court and win and that’s definitely not the case in this league.

“Usually you say you want to split your road games and take care of home. We’ve been a pretty good road team this year but right now we have to really do a better job taking care of home because we just haven’t been getting it done the way we should.

“We certainly can’t take Brisbane lightly. We’ve beaten them twice now on their home floor and they’re in a bit of a hole so they’re are the team that’s going to come here with that same urgency and desperation.”