Hawks AFL slump not Rioli's fault: Gunston
Hawthorn's struggles in attack aren't down to Cyril Rioli's indifferent start to the season, according to Hawks forward Jack Gunston.
Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston says the Hawks' scoring woes aren't Cyril Rioli's fault.
Coming off an All-Australian season, his third, Rioli's indifferent form has stood out with Hawthorn slumping to a disastrous 0-4 start to the season.
The 2015 Norm Smith medallist and four-time premiership player has kicked just three goals in four games and is averaging 11 disposals.
"It's not just Cyril that's been down, there's a lot of us who are struggling to get the footy at times and are just playing some poor footy at certain times," Gunston told reporters on Thursday.
"Cyril is a quality player and I'm sure he's not too fussed by what's going on. He's been a quality player for numerous years, he's an All-Australian and he's played some great footy and got plenty of touches in heaps of games.
"I'm sure he'll come out, whether it's this week or next week, I'm sure he'll find the footy and kick a few goals."
The Hawks have kicked a competition-low 38 goals across their opening four games but are also averaging the least amount of inside 50s in the league.
"It's a whole team thing," Gunston said.
"If we're not getting our hands on the footy it's pretty hard to help out a little guy like Cyril down forward."
Having managed just two goals, Gunston doesn't excuse himself from scrutiny, but the club's leading goalkicker last season has been playing a slightly different role.
"(I've been) finding the footy and working my way up the ground, but haven't been dangerous inside the forward 50 in the first month of footy," he said.
"But that's all right, it will turn. It's good to see (James) Sicily and other guys being able to hit the scoreboard and kick goals.
"That's the philosophy we've had as a forward group, it doesn't matter who's kicking the goals as long as someone is.
"In saying that, we do need to be kicking a lot more goals to be winning games."
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