Hawks will cope with injuries, says Hodge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks will cope with injuries, says Hodge

Roger Vaughan 16/06/2011 06:47:49 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge has backed his AFL team's younger players to fill the breach as they cope with a brace of mid-season injuries.

The Hawks made four forced changes for Saturday's match against Gold Coast in Launceston.

They lost Jarryd Roughead for the rest of the year with an achilles tendon injury, while Brent Guerra will be out with the perforated eardrum that cost Geelong star Joel Selwood a four-game suspension.

Brent Renouf had his gall bladder removed on Wednesday and Clinton Young has a hamstring injury.

David Hale, Max Bailey, Isaac Smith and Rick Ladson will come into the side.

"We recruited David Hale to play as a ruck-forward and that's what he will slip into to do this week," Hodge said.

"David will get his chance, Jordan Lisle had his first game when `Franky' (Lance Franklin) didn't play last week.

"So we see it as another challenge for younger guys to step up, as we've seen with (Matt) Suckling, (Shane) Savage, (Liam) Shiels.

"We have full confidence in our young guys, they've been on the list for three or four years now and even the guys we have recruited, Isaac Smith and Paul Puopolo, they're 23-24 years old."

The Hawks are fourth with eight wins from 11 matches and regardless of their injury problems, they will start strong favourites against the Suns.

Hodge said Hawthorn are yet to produce a solid four-quarter performance so far this season and have plenty of improvement ahead of them in the second half of the season.

He added the early flight to Launceston because of the volcanic ash situation would not bother the Hawks and might be a bonus for the fathers in the team.

"We trained as we normally did on a Thursday and then came straight to the airport - it's no different," he said.

"We might get three good nights' sleep, that will have to be good."

One notable feature of Saturday's game will be Hawthorn premiership player Campbell Brown, now at Gold Coast, going up against his old club.

"It will be good, he'll be just another opponent," Hodge said of his former team-mate.

"You understand why he went, they gave him a longer contract.

"He wanted to play as a permanent defender where we wanted to chop and change from forward to back.

"We have no issues with Browny going."

Hodge also said the Suns were not to be taken lightly.

"They have a few quality players, especially the young guys," he said.

"I love watching Gold Coast play - when they get on a roll, they're really hard to stop."

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