HAWTHORN legends Jason Dunstall and Dermott Brereton have warned there is still "big pain" ahead for the club as it continues its drastic downward descent.

Set to miss finals for the first time since 2009, the Hawks' horror year continued on Thursday night when they suffered a crushing 51-point loss to the Power.

Hawthorn was held scoreless in the first quarter and was limited to the lowest first-half score in the club's long and distinguished history - registering only three behinds to the main break.

But, speaking during Fox Footy's coverage of the clash, both Dunstall and Brereton warned the worst was only just beginning for the ageing team.

"It's hard to watch," Dunstall said.

"Nobody likes to watch the team they love get beat up like that.

"If you understand where the list is at, I think there's a realisation it's going to happen a number of times this season - it already has happened and it will a lot over the second half of the year.

"The only thing we haven't heard is the club speak publicly about where they're at.

"It becomes a very interesting philosophical discussion. Do you come out and say you need a complete rebuild? That's hard for your members and sponsors.

"But the flipside is, you've got to explain performances like this, where you're completely uncompetitive and you have to make up excuses as to why you're uncompetitive.

"I think there's still plenty of pain to come, but that's the cycle you go through. They were at the top for so long, you have to come down at some stage."

Despite allowing veterans Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis leave the club last season, a host of experienced players part of the side's triple-premiership teams remain.


Charlie Dixon of the Power and Kaiden Brand of the Hawks.
Charlie Dixon of the Power and Kaiden Brand of the Hawks. DAVID MARIUZ

However, Brereton said it was essential for those players to stay at the club beyond this year in order to allow the younger talent to find their feet at senior level.

"There's a lot of pain to come still," Brereton said.

"But you might just have to hang on to a few more than what you really and truly believe (should be there) because of age.

"There's big pain coming. You reckon that's painful tonight?

"But you've still got to have your teachers and your educators there for your young blokes to look at."

Dunstall then took aim at the club's forward line, with a host of players - including Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Paul Puopolo - failing to fire on Thursday night.

"They haven't had great seasons, either," Dunstall said.

"I think sometimes, you get the momentum of a good team and everyone gets dragged along.

"Sometimes, when you get exposed, life can become a lot harder.

"Particularly when you're playing up forward and the team is struggling. All of a sudden the ball is not hitting you like it used to hit you.

"My concern watching that tonight is that there's a lot of players that aren't able to win one-on-ones - that's a big concern."

News Corp Australia

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