Adaptable Hodge a luxury for Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Adaptable Hodge a luxury for Hawks

By Sam Lienert 22/04/2007 07:05:20 PM Comments (0)

The versatility of Hawthorn's Mr Fix-it, Luke Hodge, was again on display on Sunday, as the spark behind the Hawks' narrow win over Geelong in Launceston.

Hodge started in a key defensive role on big Cat Cameron Mooney before moving on to Nathan Ablett, with neither Geelong forward having an impact.

But, with the Hawks trailing by three goals at the first change, and regular centre square ball magnet Sam Mitchell being blanketed by Geelong's Cameron Ling, coach Alastair Clarkson threw Hodge into the midfield.

He responded by picking up 11 touches in the second quarter, fuelling the Hawthorn engine room and helping them back onto level terms on the scoreboard.

In a tense final term, with Hawthorn holding a slender lead, Clarkson thrust his star player back into defence to help ensure the Hawks held on.

Clarkson said having a player so adept at different roles was a luxury as a game unfolded and different dangers needed to be quelled.

"Hodge's got tremendous flexibility to play through the midfield and in our defence," Clarkson said.

"He reads the game better than most players in the competition, so from that point of view my preference is to play him behind the ball.

"But the bottom line is he's also very influential in the midfield too.

"It depends on match-ups and today we started him down back, at different stages we threw him into the midfield and he ended up in defence again late in the game on (Darren) Milburn, so he's been a very important player for us over a long period of time now."

Hodge said he relished the variety of challenges.

"It would be boring playing in one position, so I always like coming through midfield, or forward or back," he said.

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