Hawks won't show Bulldogs AFL mercy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks won't show Bulldogs AFL mercy

Melissa Woods 26/08/2011 04:41:45 PM Comments (0)

The struggling Western Bulldogs shouldn't expect any favours from the AFL finals-bound Hawks, who don't want to tinker with their winning formula.

The Bulldogs may have accounted for likely wooden spooners Port Adelaide last round but face a mammoth battle to hold down the third-placed Hawks at the MCG on Saturday.

Fresh from signing a contract extension until 2014, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said he didn't think he would be fiddling with his line-up against the Bulldogs or lowly Gold Coast next round.

"We've never been a club that have been linked to the resting type of philosophy," he said.

"We've had some players over the course of time who have needed to have a break due to some niggling injuries but we'll see.

Clarkson said it was really important to maintain stability of the line-up leading into the finals and they didn't want to "flirt with form".

"That continuity from one week to the next is really important ... that will be a real balancing act for the way that we approach Gold Coast next week.

"We want to win both our games leading into finals but what personnel we do that with, we'll see.

"I'd like to think that the side that we run out with this week, our best side available, and against Gold Coast will be pretty similar."

Meanwhile, promising defender Ben Stratton will make a surprise appearance for Box Hill in the VFL after recovering from the knee dislocation he suffered against Richmond in round three.

Clarkson said his return could be credited to his commitment to his rehabilitation.

He said the 22-year-old could be an option for the Hawks in the finals.

"We're excited it's another option for us going forward.

"He's probably going to have to do it the tough way ...he's coming from a long way back, he hasn't played since April.

"That's going to be reasonably tough but we also know that he's super-talented, super-confident and as long as he can get some match conditioning, he's going to be able to give our side great flexibility as we go through the next three or four weeks."

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