Dogs expect Hawks to come out fighting - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs expect Hawks to come out fighting

By Sam Lienert 01/07/2009 02:02:54 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade expects Hawthorn to throw down a physical challenge in Saturday night's AFL encounter at Etihad Stadium.

The match will be the first between the two sides since the Hawks handed the Dogs a 51-point thrashing in last year's qualifying final at the MCG.

While the current Hawks are in nowhere near that sort of form and in danger of missing the finals, Eade says his team remain wary of their capabilities.

"We've got great respect for them, obviously being the premiership team, we know they've got some quality players and they're a very good side," Eade said.

"There's no doubt that we've got to treat them with the utmost respect.

"But it's more about us, we've just got to keep winning to maintain our top-four spot and that's what we're aiming for."

With the Hawks' finals credentials and physicality having been questioned, Eade is bracing for a ferocious attack.

"The pride they've got in the club and the way they go about it, they're a pretty physical team as well," he said.

"Teams with their backs to the wall, no matter who they are, come out fighting and we know it's going to be a very physical game and we're certainly looking forward to the challenge."

The clash begins an extremely tough run for the third-placed Western Bulldogs.

Their final eight matches include meetings with both sides above them - St Kilda and Geelong - as well as fourth-placed Collingwood twice, fifth-placed Brisbane at the Gabba, and seventh-placed Essendon.

"It's a good challenge for our guys, they're looking forward to it," Eade said.

"That will match harden you, give you a good indication of where you're at, what you need to improve on.

"It's no good going into a finals series under any false illusions, so I think over the next eight or nine weeks it will be great for us."

Eade said either Sam Reid or Dylan Addison were likely to replace Daniel Giansiracusa, sidelined for six weeks with a knee injury.

Eade praised Giansiracusa for his match-winning performance against North Melbourne on Sunday, after hurting his knee early in the game.

"To be able to come back and play in that pain and discomfort, to be able to not only play but have a great impact on the game," he said.

"To kick three goals and set goals up he'll certainly be missed."

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