Hodge to be eased into season: Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodge to be eased into season: Hawks

Sam Lienert 08/03/2011 05:40:52 PM Comments (0)

New captain Luke Hodge should lead Hawthorn in the AFL opening round, but coach Alastair Clarkson admits he will have to be eased through it.

The Hawks star has not played a pre-season match because of an achilles injury and is expected to miss the club's last practice game against Melbourne in Launceston on Friday night.

That will leave a pre-season game with the Hawks' VFL affiliate Box Hill the following weekend as the skipper's only possible tune-up for the premiership season.

Coach Alastair Clarkson says Hodge's recovery has taken longer than expected, which would probably leave him facing reduced gametime in the early rounds.

But he said even with a poor preparation, the reigning All Australian skipper and Hawks best and fairest was a good enough player to lead the side against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in the opening round.

"We're pretty certain he's going to get there for round one," Clarkson said.

"We might just have to nurse him through the first two or three rounds of the season before he actually gets to the type of match conditioning which means he can make a real serious impact on the year."

Despite that setback, the Hawks head into the season confident they are much better off than this time last year, when a host of pre-season injuries contributed to them losing six of their first seven games.

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