Josh Gibson
Josh Gibson

Embattled Hawthorn have defended spearhead Lance Franklin after Mick Malthouse blasted the misfiring superstar on Melbourne radio.

Franklin's goalkicking inaccuracy continued when he managed only 1.3 in the Hawks' shock 62-point loss to Richmond at the weekend.

Malthouse on Sunday said Franklin's attitude was to blame, claiming 'Buddy didn't look interested' as the Tigers ran riot against the former premiership favourites.

"He didn't really look like he really wanted to come up the ground and when he did and did not get it he just moped back," Malthouse said on 3AW.

"I have watched Franklin go in to the middle time and time again and he has not got the fundamentals. You have got to have a defensive mindset and Buddy has not got that.''

But team-mate Josh Gibson said on Monday that Franklin's problems weren't caused by a lack of effort.

"I know that he's probably been a little bit disappointed with his goal kicking, but it's not through lack of effort,'' Gibson said at Waverly Park.

"He's out there practising his shots and whatnot, doing all those things, all week at training to try and get the best possible outcome at the weekend, but if you asked all the blokes and there's plenty of guys who missed shots at the weekend which were kickable ... all over the field we made errors.

"'Bud' would like to be kicking more goals, but I know it's not through lack of effort so I'm sure if he keeps training the way he is it will flick at some stage.''

Gibson conceded Hawthorn were desperately missing Luke Hodge but insisted the Hawks have the depth to cover their skipper's absence.

Hodge has played just two games this year because of calf and knee injuries.

"It's down to the 22 blokes playing," he said.

"You can't rely on one bloke to lift a side, so if we're sitting here waiting for Hodgey to lift us, then that's not going to get us anywhere.

"It doesn't matter who's out there each week, it's the 22 blokes that when the games aren't going your way need to lift together to help you get a win.

"It's got to be a team effort."

Meanwhile Gibson rated the Tigers as genuine premiership contenders after they beat Hawthorn in the contested ball, tackles and inside 50s tallies.

"I take my hat off to them. They hunted us. They have some elite guys going through that midfield, their backline stood up and their forwards kicked goals," he said.

"We got beaten in some key areas that we pride ourselves on and you've got to win them to win games of footy."


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