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Hawthorn have slumped to a 4-9 record following their 13-point loss to Fremantle, but they have pushed the competition's best teams all the way this year.
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell can't help but feel frustrated at his team's run of close losses, but he feels they are on the right track for future success.
On paper, the Hawks' 4-9 win-loss record doesn't make for pretty reading.
But a closer look at their results suggest Hawthorn are making significant progress in Mitchell's first season in charge.
Hawthorn have beaten Geelong, Port Adelaide, and Brisbane this year, as well as the hapless North Melbourne.
The Hawks came close to defeating Melbourne (10 points), Carlton (one point), Collingwood (four points), and Fremantle (13 points).
In Saturday's 14.11 (95) to 12.10 (82) loss to Fremantle in Perth, Hawthorn won the inside 50m count 61-47, as well as the centre clearances 15-13 against the Dockers' star-studded midfield.
With Mitch Lewis and Jack Gunston out injured, the Hawks lacked the forward firepower to finish the job.
Mitchell cut a frustrated figure after watching victory slip away against Fremantle, but he feels his team is making good progress.
"We know we're a work in progress, and there's some frustration in that and some urgency to try to be better today," Mitchell said.
"But we know the journey that we're on and we're building in the right direction.
"We'll have some improvement and be able to put some sides away in a manner that we can't at the moment.
"We had a lot of Hawks fans here today ... and they seemed to be, from the conversations I've had with a lot of those guys, really positive about what our players are producing.
"I think you watch today's game and you say, 'Hawthorn are a team that you'd be proud to barrack for', because they have a go."
Mitchell feels his younger players will understand the flow of the game better once they get more experience.
"I was talking to Jacob Koschitzke after the game about when to go fast and when to go slow," Mitchell explained.
"He said, 'Well when I get the ball I just look up and it all looks the same'.
"It was a really good insight into what the game looks like for a player who has played (29) games.
"When he's played 55 or 65 games, then he'll know those things. A lot of our players are quite young and still developing."
Defender Sam Frost is set to undergo scans on his knee after being subbed off in the final term.
Hawthorn now have a bye, and Mitchell says Lewis and Gunston are on track to return for the June 24 clash with the Western Bulldogs.