Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admitted his side is performing well below expectations after nine rounds of the season.
The Hawks were demolished to the tune of 62 points by Richmond on Saturday, leaving the one-time premiership favourites clinging onto their position in the top eight with five wins and four losses.
Clarkson said he expected his side to be up near the top of the ladder and conceded they have a lot of work to do to get there.
"We'd like to be better placed than 5-4, at the end of the day that's what your side is measured on and we've got expectations to be a side that's going to be contesting late in the season," Clarkson said.
"But at 5-4 we're just in the middle of the pack - little bit above that maybe.
"We weren't going into the season with the expectation that we'd be middle of the pack and hopefully if we win a few more we'd be able to challenge a bit, we had the expectation that would be high up the ladder and challenging seriously.
"Right at the moment we've got a fair amount of work to do."
Clarkson attributed Saturday's loss to their inability to match it with the Tigers in the midfield.
Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Shane Tuck, Nathan Foley and Dustin Martin dominated that area of the ground as Richmond finished with 29 more contested possessions and three more clearances.
"The game panned out exactly as we predicted in terms of the team that convincingly won the midfield battle won the game," Clarkson said.
"We stated quite clearly going into the game that if we were really competitive in that area of the ground we'll be able to compete and do well. But Richmond just torched us in the middle of the ground.
"I know the clearances will end up being reasonably even but the key statistics, particular centre bounces, they just took it out far too easily, it wasn't just the number of clearances, it was the manner and ease with which they took them out.
"That was an item of considerable stress right throughout the course of the day and if you can't win that midfield battle against the Tigers then you're going to give their forwards enough supply to be able to kick a score and that's the way the game unfolded.
"Bottom line is we just weren't hard enough through the middle of the ground and Richmond showed us a clean pair of heels far too often."
Clarkson added that he was disappointed with the Hawks' final-term capitulation where they managed just one goal to the Tigers' eight.
"We'd like to have more steel in our side but so would any club in that situation," he said."We lick our wounds knowing that we played a good opponent today and we know the Richmond midfield has been strong for some time, but all the same we don't expect to receive a towelling like we did today."
MCG thrashing - Goodes stars as Swans thump Collingwood
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7
All rights reserved.