Gunston backs Hawks' Patton to improve

Oliver Caffrey
Jonathon Patton has made a slow start to life as a Hawks forward kicking two goals in two matches

Jonathon Patton can lift following an underwhelming start to life as a Hawk, with teammate Jack Gunston saying the former No.1 draft pick is still learning to play the "Hawthorn way".

After arriving at Waverley Park from GWS in the off-season, Patton was limited to six possessions and a goal in Hawthorn's 61-point belting in Geelong on Friday night.

The injury-plagued 27-year-old's output in the Hawks' round one win against Brisbane in March was almost identical to the clash with the Cats.

Patton produced a breakout season in 2016, but his career was again brought to a halt in 2018 after requiring a third knee reconstruction.

Gunston said the Hawks never rely on one person to kick a bag of goals and Patton was already playing his role.

"I don't think he's (Patton) been disgraced at all. If you look at our forward line as a whole, none of us performed on the weekend," Gunston told reporters.

"He'll find his feet. I think anyone that comes into the Hawthorn system it takes a while to get going and learn the Hawthorn way.

"We've got plenty of games left this year and I'm sure we'll see the best of 'Patto' soon."

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson blasted his team's "second-half fadeout against the Cats, labelling it a "fourth-rate" performance.

The Hawks face a short turnaround before facing reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night.

"From the moment we walked off the field, we knew there was going to be clips ... that we didn't like and isn't Hawthorn-like," Gunston said.

Star midfielder Jaeger O'Meara was sorely missed at GMHBA Stadium, with the Cats' taking full control of the clearances after halftime, and the Hawks remain optimistic about their vice-captain returning from a facial fracture against the Tigers.