Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has warned fans it will take time to put the polish back on the AFL premiers’ performances.
The Hawks’ defence of the flag began with a blowout 48-point win over strugglers Brisbane at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions got within two points in the third quarter before Hawthorn ran away with it 21.13 (139) to 13.13 (91).
Clarkson said his side were still blowing out some new season rust.
“Usually it will take a while to work our way into the season,” he said.
“It’s pretty scratchy footy quite often early in the year but as long as we’re winning games of footy we’ll deliver close to our best hopefully towards the end of the year rather than right now.”
The Hawks booted eight final-quarter goals to Brisbane’s five to ensure a comfortable win.
But Clarkson said they would need to start the improvement in time for next week’s clash with Essendon after the Bombers’ impressive win over North Melbourne on Friday night.
“Maybe I’m being a little bit too greedy because we still kicked 21 goals,” he said.
“Our polish wasn’t quite there in our game overall and hopefully that will get better over the next few weeks as we build ourselves into the season.
“We can’t be too displeased with a game we won by nearly 50 points against a pretty spirited opposition.”
New Lions coach Justin Leppitsch was left with mixed emotions after his debut in the box.
“We disappointed ourselves in the last quarter, there’s no doubt,” he said.
“That was a bit of a train-wreck so we’ll have to address that.”
After they’d gone goalless in the second quarter to trail by 22, the Lions fought back to trail 60-58.
But bad misses stalled their momentum and the Hawks smelled blood.
They blasted home four straight goals to close the third before the final quarter onslaught.
Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead kicked five each for the premiers, who extended a winning streak over the Lions that goes back to 2009.
For Brisbane, Jonathan Brown kicked four, while Trent West and Tom Rockliff booted three apiece.
“It was really just who was going to finish their work better and we managed to do that,” Clarkson said.
Hawthorn unfurled the premiership flag before the opening ball-up, suspended backman Brian Lake accompanying it in front of 12,430 Tasmanian fans.