WAGGA footballer Matt Suckling admits blocking out a hostile home crowd will be crucial to Hawthorn’s chances of success in Perth on Friday night.
The Hawks are just one win away from another AFL grand final appearance and Suckling maintains the group’s focus is firmly on Fremantle despite the prospect of a premiership three-peat drawing closer by the day.
Hawthorn’s premiership chances took a hit in Perth in the opening week of finals when they suffered a 32-point loss to West Coast at Domain Stadium.
Suckling said a lot of lessons were learnt and they will use that experience to help them ahead of another trip across the nullarbor to tackle Fremantle on Friday.
“It’s obviously going to be a big challenge travelling back to Perth, and we found out last time why it’s hard to win over there, especially in a final,” Suckling said.
“We’ll take confidence in our year, and last week, in the way we bounced back.
“Having played a final, at the ground, one big thing is blocking out the crowd noise and trying to welcome and embrace the nastiness of the crowd.”
Suckling added how the playing group were particularly keen to conquer a Western Australian final.
“With the loss a couple of weeks ago, we were pretty embarrassed by it,” he said.
“I think 20 out of the 22 were unhappy with how they played so to go back to Perth and play on the same ground gives us the chance to go back there and atone for the poor performance.”
Suckling said there were obvious differences about this year’s campaign for the Hawks, but added that the hunger to achieve greatness is as strong as ever.
“It is different this year, because we’ve had to travel, where as the last couple of years we’ve finished top two and went straight through to the preliminary final,” he said.
“This year we’ve had to do it the tough way, if we are lucky enough to make history with a three-peat.
“But we’ve still got to get through a preliminary final and that’s all of our focus at the moment.”
One big thing is blocking out the crowd noise and trying to welcome and embrace the nastiness of the crowd.- Matt Suckling
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