Hawthorn defender Brian Lake will have a massive job on Friday night if he proves his fitness for the AFL qualifying final against Geelong.
The early signs are good for Hawthorn that key defender Brian Lake will play in Friday night’s AFL qualifying final against arch-rivals Geelong.
Lake suffered a corked hip in Friday’s regulation win over Collingwood.
If available, Lake will have one of Hawthorn’s most crucial assignments when he lines up on Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins.
Lake restricted Hawkins to three goals in the round-22 comeback win over Geelong.
Hawkins then reminded everyone of his talent last weekend with a career-best seven goals against Brisbane.
“I saw Lakey yesterday and he was moving around quite freely,” Hodge said on Monday.
“Hawkins on Saturday night looked in pretty good form.
“No doubt, he’s been a big player for them in the last few years in finals.”
But Hodge stopped short of confirming Lake would play this week.
“Whether it’s Lakey or Gibbo (Josh Gibson), we rely on all defenders to work as a unit and help each other out,” Hodge said.
“I don’t think one person can stop Hawkins, it’s probably a team unit that’s going to help.”
Coach Alastair Clarkson will meet with medical staff on Monday afternoon for an update on Hawthorn’s injuries.
Hodge will return from a week off with a sore knee, while Brad Hill (quad) and Ben Stratton (calf) were also rested for the Collingwood game.
Matt Suckling remains in doubt with a knee injury and Cyril Rioli continues to recover from his latest hamstring problem.
“We’re not expecting that all those guys will miss,” Clarkson said.
The Hawks coach also expected Cats star Steve Johnson (foot) to play.
“We’ll plan for their best and that’s in the way they play and also in the way they pick their side,” he said.
“We’d expect Stevey to be there.”
Hodge said he wanted to play against the Magpies, but accepted he needed the rest.
“I copped a hit on the knee a few weeks ago and it was a little bit grumbly,” he said.
“Did I want to play? Yes. Am I better off now? Yeah, I am, so I’m looking forward to Friday night.”