Hawks AFL coach Clarkson backs depth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks AFL coach Clarkson backs depth

08/09/2011 01:19:09 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has backed the depth of his playing list heading into the AFL finals series, saying they have great cover for their best 22 players.

The Hawks open the finals on Friday night with a blockbuster qualifying final against arch rivals Geelong at the MCG.

The Hawks have not beaten Geelong since the 2008 grand final but the biggest margin between the two teams in that time has only been 19 points.

The Hawks tested their depth last week byresting eight of their top players for the away match against Gold Coast, which they won by only nine points.

Top players such as captain Luke Hodge, Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli are among the eight who will return to the side for Friday's clash.

Another player who was brought back for the Gold Coast game but could stay in the side is midfielder Chance Bateman, who has come back from injury.

The other obvious player who will keep his spot in the side after returning last week will be star midfielder Sam Mitchell.

The Hawks go into a final series in their strongest state since their 2008 premiership and Clarkson said their player availability was a big strength.

"Anyone of those 30 (players), we can go to those guys and they can perform a role for us and help us win a game of footy in the finals," Clarkson said.

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