THE Hawks may yet come to rue a one-point loss to Cairns in their season-opener last week, but swingman Tim Coenraad says his side will need to put it out of their mind ahead of their second tough road trip in as many weeks against Perth on Friday.
The Hawks looked in control for most of the clash against Cairns, and ended up the better in almost all statistical categories, but were ultimately made to pay for a lack of composure down the stretch.
With a third away clash against Sydney to follow on Sunday, The Hawks could be staring down the barrel of an 0-3 start to their campaign if they can’t right the ship quickly.
Coach Rob Beveridge was frank in his assessment of the performance post-match match but Coenraad said the playing group didn’t need to be told where they were poor.
“You need to take care of the ball down the stretch and we didn’t do it. We were up by four or five in the last quarter and we turned the ball over a couple of times and it hurt us,” Coenraad said.
“If we make one shot on one of those possessions, we win the game. It wasn’t lost in the last few seconds, it was lost in the patches where we weren’t good enough as a team to execute.
“You never go through a season without [losing] one game you know is going to hurt you down the line and we’ve had that game you think about right at the start of the season.
“It could come back to haunt us but right now we can only worry about what’s in front of us and we’ve got to learn from the weekend. If we play like that against Perth it won’t be a one-point game.”
Having played more games (228) for the Hawks than any current player, the significance of lifting the Perth curse last season wasn’t lost on the nine-season veteran – but he said it won’t make Friday’s task any easier.
“It’s just another Perth game where you know it’s going to be tough,” Coenraad said..
“Yeah we got a win there [last season] but they were a bit undermanned and we were in really good form so, while we broke the curse, if they were a full strength team it might have been different. It might not have been, you don’t know, but it doesn’t matter this week.
“We’ve got to go in with the right mindset, we have to execute and we have to be aggressive. They’re the benchmark and they’re the team everyone’s looking to beat, but we need to go in there with a little bit of swagger knowing we can win there with the team we have.”
The Hawks finals MVP last season, Coenraad also put the onus on himself to bounce back from a self-described sub-par effort against the Snakes.
“I wasn’t that energiser off the bench that I usually am and that’s got to change,” Coenraad said.
“Against Cairns I was no points, no rebounds and that just can’t happen. If that happens I’m not giving the team anything.
“I need to better. If I give the team a bit of juice while Meech [Demitrius Conger] and the guys are resting, it’s easy for those guys to come back in and keep rolling.”