Shaun Burgoyne admits he and the other senior players at Hawthorn still have plenty to learn from their AFL counterparts at Geelong.
The Cats extended their winning streak over Hawthorn to eight after beating the Hawks by two points on Monday in another classic game between the two fierce rivals.
It was the fifth time in that streak that the Cats had trailed at three-quarter time.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel were crucial as their team again found a way to beat the Hawks.
Burgoyne said the Hawks’ on-field leaders had to show that sort of spirit more often in such big matches.
“It seems like they want to win the tight games and they have a great self-belief,” Burgoyne said of Geelong.
“It’s something we can draw from, definitely.
“They’ve been probably the best team over the last five years and if we want to be a team like that, we have to take our opportunities.
“When those games are in the tight situations, their senior players seem to stand up and deliver – we need to do that too.”
While Burgoyne was disappointed with the loss, he also referred to it as more “on-the-job experience” for Hawthorn.
The loss also resulted in a solid post-game blast from coach Alastair Clarkson, who looked despondent immediately after the final siren.
“We obviously deserved the `bake’ he gave us,” Burgoyne said.
“He was pretty angry with our missed opportunities and so were we.
“Some of the mistakes we made were pretty easy … they capitalised and kicked goals from those mistakes.”
Adding to a tough day, forward Brendan Whitecross was offered a one-match ban for rough conduct against Selwood.
Hawthorn’s tough start to the season continues with games against the in-form NAB Cup finalists.
They host Adelaide on Sunday at the MCG and then go to Perth in round four to play West Coast.
Sunday will also be a big match for the Hawks because Burgoyne and Sam Mitchell play their 200th games, while Jordan Lewis reaches his 150 milestone.
Burgoyne, 29, has been outstanding since he left Port Adelaide after the 2009 season and was traded to Hawthorn.
Older brother Peter also played 240 games for Port Adelaide from 1997 to 2009.
“It’s pretty exciting – I was lucky enough to play in my brother’s 200th game,” Shaun said.
“I was always pretty confident in myself that I’d be able to play at the level, but to play 200 games means I’ve played for 10 years and I’ve been pretty happy with that.”
Shaun laughed when asked if he might one day beat his brother’s AFL games tally.
“We’re fairly competitive, me and Peter – when you used to train together, we used to have a crack,” he said.
“But he’s got me by a fair few more games.”