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Crawford may play until end of 2010

By Robert Grant 18/07/2008 05:37:16 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn veteran Shane Crawford could play until the end of the 2010 season, despite ongoing problems with knee tendonitis.

Hawk coach Alastair Clarkson refused to put a time limit on the 33-year-old's career at the club, even though he is currently a week-to-week proposition because of the nagging injury.

Crawford will miss this weekend's big clash with St Kilda but is likely to come back into calculations next week.

Clarkson said Crawford knew his career was drawing to a close, but said he could still play on for at least two more seasons if managed properly.

"He knows he's nearing the end, whether that's in six months time or 18 months time or even two-and-a-half years but he's such a tremendous trainer that who knows how long he'll play," Clarkson said.

"He knows that he's certainly in the twilight of his career and he wants to be out on the park as much as he can be."

The Brownlow medallist recently returned following a five-week break but was forced after two matches to again head for the sidelines.

"It's a difficult injury to manage, tendonitis in the knee," Clarkson said.

"We'll see how he gets back into training early next week and that will determine whether he plays the Geelong game or has another rest but for this particular game he wasn't quite ready and hopefully he'll be right for next week's game against the Cats.

"He's frustrated because he's usually so good at being able to manage his body and get himself right but tendonitis, it doesn't spare anyone.

"If it gets you, it gets you pretty hard so it's been frustrating because he just likes to get out there and for the bulk of his 16 years he's been able to get himself out there on more occasions than not."

Meanwhile, Clarkson said the Hawks would face a difficult test against the Saints at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

"Every game is a significant challenge and St Kilda have been playing good footy in the last three or four weeks.

"Even the game that they lost up in Sydney about a month ago, they played quite well and we're going to need to play really well against them tomorrow night to get the points," he said.

"Both sides now are wanting to play a really attacking style of footy. I reckon St Kilda have played their best when they've tried to run and carry the ball in recent weeks.

"The St Kilda side have got some talented players and it will be another good test for us, I'm sure."

Despite the absence of Crawford, Hawthorn's running strength has been again boosted in the midfield by the return of Chance Bateman to join Brad Sewell who was included last week.

"We really miss that in the six or eight games through the middle of the season - we had a lot of guys through half-back or midfield that we missed.

"Even early in the season we were able to cover some of those guys who were the credit of our midfield depth we were able to cover them quite well with some of our younger players," he said.

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