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ET: Hawks wary of Ben Brown

August 13, 2017 11:06 AM

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Alastair Clarkson says stopping Ben Brown will be vital to Hawthorn’s chances of defeating North Melbourne on Sunday.

The Hawks’ coach identified Brown as a player who could have a huge impact on the game, after he overcame a concussion to take his place in the Roos’ 22.

“We were hopeful that big forward Brown might have missed a week,” Clarkson joked.

“He’s a big forward threat for them (the Kangaroos). A lot of the kicks inside 50 use him as a target, so we’re mindful of that.  He’s a very, very good player.”

Kaiden Brand is set get the job on Brown, who has booted a career-high 51 goals this year.

“Brandy’s about the only one down there who’s got the reach to get near Browny, so he’ll probably get first crack at him,” Clarkson said.

“The way we defend we are going to need all our guys helping out at different stages, and that includes the midfielders providing enough pressure on the ball so it’s not giving easy access to Brown and others.

“He’s not the only target down there, but with (Jarrad) Waite out of the side at the present time it means Brown is the key focal point. We need to be mindful it needs to be a whole team approach to defence.”

Clarkson said North’s on-ball brigade demanded respect.

“Their midfield is still very strong. They’ve got some outstanding leaders and really, really strong ground-level players, and (Todd) Goldstein is still a very threatening ruckman,” he added.

“We need to make sure we try and win that midfield battle, so number one it doesn’t get it to Brown, and we can get it forward ourselves and try and kick ourselves a score.

“They’ve been really competitive in the last few games without playing their absolute best and we’ve been a little bit the same, so it’ll really depend on who brings their best and executes it tomorrow.”