Cheeky Sicily stars in Hawks' AFL win

Roger Vaughan

James Sicily has summed himself up with the key moment of Saturday's AFL win over Essendon.

The Hawthorn defender was on the way to best-afield honours at the MCG when he took a mark at half-back in the third term.

Out-of-form Bombers key forward Joe Daniher then gave away a 50m penalty - also summing up his day.

That gave Sicily a set shot at goal from about 55m, into the wind.

His booming kick landed in the Essendon cheer squad and was a dagger through the heart for the Bombers.

It took Hawthorn's lead to 17 points and confirmed they were in control.

Then, as Sicily ran back to position, he cheekily offered a "low five" to Daniher, who declined the gesture.

It was classic Sicily, who returned on Saturday from his second suspension this season.

At his best, he is a 250-game star in the making.

But the 23-year-old is an extrovert with a fiery streak.

"I don't think there's anyone in the competition now who doubts the capacity he has as a player," coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"We're much better off having him on the field than in the grandstand - he knows that.

"It's just a learning curve for him and hopefully he learns from his (suspension) misdemeanours."

Clarkson praised Hawthorn for steadying after a bad start to Saturday's clash.

They lost Ricky Henderson and Will Langford as late withdrawals and were three goals down in the first term.

But they hit the lead early in the third term and put Essendon to the sword.

Clarkson praised James Cousins, one of Hawthorn's impressive youngsters, who was brought in as a late replacement for Henderson.

Cousins tagged Essendon star Zach Merrett and kept him to only 17 possessions.

Clarkson sat on the interchange bench late in every quarter, which he says is because there have so many younger players.

He was also pleased for captain Jarryd Roughead, who kicked three goals after two scoreless weeks.

While Clarkson says Roughead is not at his best, he is tracking well for them.