Speculation on Hodge's AFL fitness - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Speculation on Hodge's AFL fitness

By Roger Vaughan 31/05/2006 08:45:04 PM Comments (0)

Depending on who you speak to, Hawthorn onballer Luke Hodge is either flying or hobbling ahead of Saturday's AFL match against the Western Bulldogs.

According to Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, Hodge might miss the Telstra Dome game with a hamstring injury.

A Hawks official later laughed when he fielded yet another media enquiry about the matter, saying "Luke trained beautifully today".

Eade appeared to thoroughly enjoy creating some mischief at Wednesday afternoon's media conference.

As a journalist went through the Hawks omissions for the weekend, Eade quickly added "maybe Hodge - he hurt his hamstring."

When later quizzed whether he had some mail on the Hawks, Eade said: "It's interesting, it's just on tape (television) ... he grabbed his hamstring right on the bell.

"The game finished then and nothing was actually reported - he had a scan on Monday, so it will be interesting to see."

Eade added injured Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson saw Hodge going in for the scan.

Of course, the 'Dogs are themselves coping with a long casualty list.

They lost Robert Murphy for the rest of the year last weekend with a knee injury and Daniel Giansiracusa is in doubt with his own hamstring trouble.

Murphy's injury means the Bulldogs attack must be re-cast, just as it was when Luke Darcy also ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the pre-season.

But Eade insisted the top eight remains a realistic goal for his side.

"Whoever plays, whether we've got six out or 26 out, we expect to have 100 per cent effort from every player," he said.

"With our start to the year, certainly media and maybe supporters (were) thinking that we were a bit further advanced, maybe a top-four side.

"We never thought that ... the expectations are still to make the eight.

"What will happen is that we'll just have to rotate players (in attack), three of our top-six forwards will be out."

Murphy had impressed so far this season in the short Bulldogs attack as a leading forward and Eade said one player was unlikely to take over that role.

He added it was probably tougher to rejig the forward line for Murphy than it was for Darcy.

"Maybe a full-forward is, I would say, easier to cover, if that's the right phrase (because) he's a bit deeper," Eade said.

"Centre half-forward is such a tough spot to play."

Sam Power is a likely addition to the Bulldogs side.

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