Hodge, Franklin star in Hawks win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodge, Franklin star in Hawks win

By Roger Vaughan 08/06/2008 03:08:28 PM Comments (0)

The goalkicking grabbed everyone's attention, but other aspects of the Lance Franklin show on Saturday night at Telstra Dome impressed Hawthorn team-mate Luke Hodge more.

Franklin's nine goals added to his growing legend as the Hawks rebounded from last week's first loss of the AFL season with a 51-point win over Essendon.

Hodge, returning from three weeks out with a hamstring injury and an appendectomy, kicked three goals and had 22 touches to star in the win.

Franklin's scoring frenzy equalled his best return in a game, also against the Bombers in round six last season, but Hodge noted how well "Buddy" marked above his head.

Another pleasing aspect for Hodge was how the rest of the powerful Hawthorn attack cleared out when it became clear early Franklin was "on", giving him every chance to wreak havoc.

"I know he kicked a few goals, but what I got most out of it was seeing him mark above his head," Hodge said of Franklin.

"That's been something he's continued to work on and as a 21-year-old, he's only going to get better at doing that."

Franklin had the measure of young Bombers defender Paddy Ryder and then wily veteran Dustin Fletcher.

Although Mark Williams did not kick a goal, Hodge thought it was the best game he had seen the small forward play in "two or three years" because of his team work and ability to create scoring chances.

Likewise, Cyril Rioli worked hard up the ground and fellow tall forwards Jarryd Roughead and Tim Boyle combined superbly with Franklin.

Hodge was also outstanding, kicking his three goals when the game was still tight in the first half.

It was notable that late in the last term, with all the heat out of the match, Hodge was still bashing bodies and feverishly applying pressure.

"He's a real warrior and we just love him playing, but we've really missed him the last four weeks," coach Alastair Clarkson said of his vice-captain.

The Hawks played Hodge for about 70 per cent of the game and the midfielder appreciated the lesser workload, saying he struggled early in the first term with the tempo of AFL football.

"It was good to get back to playing footy again, after watching the last three weeks," he said.

"Essendon came out and troubled us early, but it was good to see the boys regroup and play well in the second half.

"It was a lot harder (early) than I thought it was going to be, but I only ended up playing about 70 per cent (of the game).

"They brought me off at good times to keep me fresh and keep me running, but it helps when the boys are given the first option and playing as a team."

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