Young Eagles to stop in-form Hawks pair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young Eagles to stop in-form Hawks pair

By Justin Chadwick 20/08/2008 05:55:37 PM Comments (0)

Young West Coast defenders Beau Wilkes and Eric Mackenzie face the biggest test of their fledgling AFL careers when they attempt to stop star Hawthorn pair Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead on Sunday.

Wilkes, 22, and Mackenzie, 20, have just 18 games between them and have already had some massive assignments this season.

But with skipper Darren Glass battling injury and fellow key defenders Brett Jones, Adam Hunter and Jaymie Graham ruled out for the season, coach John Worsfold has little choice but to call on Wilkes and Mackenzie to stop Hawthorn's twin towers.

All the pre-match talk has centred on whether Franklin can kick the six goals required to reach the magical ton for the season.

Worsfold quickly said the Eagles would also need to keep a close eye on Roughead, who has 59 goals and bagged six when the teams last met in round 14.

"They are both very good players," Worsfold said of Franklin and Roughead.

"Those two guys have kicked a lot of goals each, they are the real two key focal points for them.

"We have got young defenders that will have those big challenges.

"It's looking at what Eric Mackenzie and Beau Wilkes have shown over the last few weeks and they've taken up some big challenges and performed very well."

Worsfold said forward Ashley Hansen (ankle) was a strong chance to return for the Subiaco Oval clash but David Wirrpanda (cork) is set to spend a second week on the sidelines.

"It's a pretty bad cork and it's right in his buttock running into his hamstring and his hamstring was sore anyway, so it's sort of linked to that," Worsfold said of Wirrpanda.

"In the last game he played he complained of a sore hamstring and then got the cork, so it's a bit of both."

Injury-plagued midfielder Sam Butler is a chance to return to the Eagles' senior side after stringing together a number of strong performances in the WAFL over the past month.

The Hawks will enter the match without star midfielder Luke Hodge, who accepted a one-match ban for striking Richmond's Brett Deledio last Sunday at the MCG.

Worsfold said he was looking for a strong effort against the Hawks after last week's dismal display against last-placed Melbourne.

"Your greatest learning comes from looking at the toughest things, not the nice, easy things, but looking at the things that are shortcomings and areas of improvement," Worsfold said.

"That's where your greatest improvement comes form and that's where the players have been very good this year."

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