Hawthorn's injury list boosted by break - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawthorn's injury list boosted by break

15/09/2008 01:52:49 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's week off during the AFL finals has given the club a massive boost, with Trent Croad leading a list of players who have recovered from injury.

The Hawks had no fit men on their bench at the end of the qualifying-final win over the Western Bulldogs.

Croad will be first choice to mind St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt in Saturday night's MCG preliminary final, where Hawthorn will start favourites, and his foot injury was the biggest concern.

But Hawthorn assistant coach Todd Viney is confident the key defender and four other team-mates will be fit for the Saints.

Campbell Brown (thumb), Grant Birchall (hip), Cameron Stokes (quad) and Rick Kadson (shoulder) were the other players hurt during the Bulldogs win.

Ruckman Simon Taylor and defender Stephen Gilham are also two senior-side regulars will try to force their way back into the team for the Saints clash.

"He kept telling me about this magnificent Kiwi blood, that he's a quick mender and he has (hardly) missed, so he'll be right," Viney said of Croad.

"Last week, it probably would have been touch and go, but I think there will be no dramas this week ... Croady was the main concern.

"Fingers crossed, they get through this week's training, we have a pretty full list, which is a great position to be in."

Viney said the Hawks did nothing special during the free weekend, which they earnt by winning the qualifying final.

Hawthorn play a particularly bruising style of contested football and he admitted the week off had been a major boost.

"It's been great timing for us. This time of year there's always probably half your list nursing sore spots," he said.

"After the game, we did have some guys who would have been questionable last week, but I'm sure it's come at a good stage for us and I'm sure we'll be pretty fresh this week."

Viney went to the Saints' semi-final win over Collingwood and was impressed with their performance.

St Kilda beat Hawthorn in round 16 and have won seven of their last nine matches, but Viney said only the most recent game would count in the Hawks' preparations.

In round 16, the Saints overran the Hawks through the second half.

"They were very impressive, the Saints, their last part of the year has been really good and I thought that (Saturday night) was as good as I've seen them play for a while," Viney said.

"They were pretty hard at it, pretty desperate, and played a good game.

"Finals, we speak about it all the time, it's a new ball game. Both St Kilda and us are probably playing better footy than what we were at that stage of the year (round 16)."

Viney was also unconcerned about the turnaround for the winner of the Saturday night match ahead of the grand final.

While the night fixture, rather than a day match, means a few hours lost, Viney is confident the Hawks can cope should they beat the Saints.

"You should be able to recover well enough. We have plenty of practice during the year in turning around in six days," he said.

"It would just be nice to be in that position, to be worrying about the following week, but I don't think there will be any dramas."

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