Hawthorn are good enough to beat anyone in the AFL if they can replicate their performance against West Coast, forward Luke Breust says.
After being drubbed by Gold Coast and Geelong, the Hawks notched their first win of the season with a commanding 51-point victory over the Eagles at the MCG on Sunday.
It wasn’t quite the Hawks at their best but for the likes of Breust, Jack Gunston and Cyril Rioli, it was a welcome return to form.
And Breust, who booted three goals, believes a top-eight finish isn’t beyond the reach of the 1-4 Hawks.
“I still think that if we can play the footy that we did on Sunday, we’re a genuine chance to beat any side in the competition,” Breust said on Monday.
“If we can do that – we’re obviously behind the ledger at the moment – but we can get the wins on the board to make finals.”
Having debuted in 2011 when the Hawks were firmly within their premiership window, Breust admitted he had never experienced anything like their dreadful start to the season.
The 26-year-old was one of several senior Hawks to face scrutiny, with some commentators accusing them of hubris.
There were also questions about whether four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson was the man to lead Hawthorn’s rebuild.
But Breust insists the Hawks hadn’t let the criticism get to them.
“I wouldn’t say it fired us up,” Breust said.
“You try and eliminate that from your thoughts and just focus on your role and what you do for the team. I thought to a man, we did that yesterday.”
The Hawks face a six-day break before hosting St Kilda in Launceston on Saturday afternoon.
Star recruit Jaeger O’Meara remains in doubt for a third straight week after copping a knock to his troublesome knee.
“It’s bone bruising, and as we know with bone bruising, it can turn around very quickly or it might take a bit of time,” Breust said.
“We’ll just see how he goes.”