Mitchell sees Hawks progress in Dees defeat
Sam Mitchell hopes his developing Hawthorn side will see some reward for effort with an AFL win soon.
But the second-year Hawks coach doesn't see the scoreboard as the only measure of progression.
And while a 54-point defeat to Melbourne on Saturday showed a gulf in class between the two sides, Mitchell saw enough cause for optimism going forward.
"We know when we've made significant strides," he said.
"Even though today we lost to a very good side, we still made some progress towards the direction we want to go.
"Last week against Freo we couldn't really have said that. I would've said that was a backwards step.
"Today, it's not a giant step forward by any stretch, but there were some parts of the game that looked promising."
Mitchell took heart from the individual performances of Seamus Mitchell, Josh Weddle and Lloyd Meek.
He also noted a midfield led by Will Day, Jai Newcombe and James Worpel built more consistency, though Melbourne's seasoned on-ball brigade ultimately proved too strong.
The Demons are operating on a different level; one that Hawthorn are ultimately trying to reach.
"They're a finished product of a group and they're just trying to sustain that for as long as they can," Mitchell said.
"You talk to our group about how it took them a long time to get there and we're at the early phase of that.
"When you play against Hawthorn in years to come you want to be knowing that you're coming up against a side that has all aspects of the game covered because they've been doing it for a long time together."
Round 10 presents a far greater chance for Hawthorn (1-8) to post a second win of the season when they meet fellow cellar dwellers West Coast (1-8) in Launceston.
Hawks ruck Ned Reeves (ankle) is a chance to return after he was a late withdrawal on Saturday, while James Blanck will need to overcome a corked leg.
Key forward Mitch Lewis played out Saturday's game despite pulling up sore from a heavy fall in a marking contest during the final term.