Hodge will re-sign with Hawks: Clarkson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodge will re-sign with Hawks: Clarkson

By Robert Grant 11/07/2009 02:48:40 PM Comments (0)

AFL Premiership hero Luke Hodge is set to remain with Hawthorn for the long term, according to coach Alastair Clarkson.

Hodge's two-year deal with the Hawks is up at the end of this season but Clarkson is convinced the Norm Smith Medallist will re-sign.

"He's a pretty important player to our footy club," Clarkson said ahead of (Sunday's) vital clash with North Melbourne in Launceston.

"We've got a group of guys who are all pretty keen on staying together and working their way through a period of success where we can.

"But there are a lot of things players have to go through in terms of contracts.

Hodgey is right in the middle of his 20s so his contract status and that sort of stuff is pretty important to him and our footy club but we'll work through that," he said.

"It's not uncommon for contract talks to take a little bit of time and Hodgey's is like that.

"But we'll work through it and I'm certain he'll be a Hawthorn player for a fair time yet."

Meanwhile, Hawthorn are desperate to turn around their form after last week's thrashing by the Western Bulldogs and stay within sight of the top eight.

"We're really looking forward to the game. It can't come quickly enough for us," Clarkson said.

"Our performance as a club last week was deplorable.

"The Western Bulldogs were outstanding last week but we thought we contributed to it a fair bit by not taking enough risks with the ball and not winning the ball in the hard contests as well as we have in past years.

"If we get those sorts of things back into our game hopefully we'll play a bit better footy."

Hawthorn's finals aspirations are balanced on a knife-edge but Clarkson said the Hawks were trying to improve in increments at the moment.

"We're not concerned about anything else than trying to play somewhere near our best footy and everything else will look after itself," he said.

"We've got a lot of work to do as a side but if we put it together bit by bit rather than think of big picture stuff, that's the way we'll work ourselves back into the game."

One positive for Hawthorn is the return from injury of important small forward Cyril Rioli this week.

"He's a pretty handy player. His leg speed and his ability to create opportunities for us is pretty important," Clarkson said.

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