Decision time looms for veteran Hawks

Hawthorn’s third AFL premiership in a row will be celebrated for weeks to come but the Hawks don’t have long before they’ll need to make some big decisions on their playing list.

Most clubs have already trimmed their lists in preparation for the coming draft, free agency and trade periods.

The Hawks are bullish about the prospects of continuing their golden era, but it remains to be seen if veterans Brian Lake and David Hale will be part of a push for a fourth flag in succession.

Lake will be 34 before the start of next season while Hale is mulling retirement.

“Just to leave it to those guys, I think,” teammate Sam Mitchell said on Sunday when asked about the playing futures of the pair.

“I read an article a while ago about who’s going to retire and who’s not … I think let them do it in the right way. If they decide to retire or if they decide to go on in the game then fantastic.

“Whatever happens in the future happens – we can’t worry about that now.”

Mitchell spoke to reporters at Glenferrie Oval on Sunday where the Hawks were presented to a crowd of around 12,000 fans, along with their three most recent premiership cups.

The dust has barely settled following the 2015 premiership decider but, as with all great teams, the focus quickly turns to how long that dominance will continue.

“I haven’t really thought too much about next year, to be honest,” Mitchell said.

“But everyone asks ‘Which is your favourite premiership?’ And my answer is always ‘The next one’.

“So next year is certainly what I’m aiming for as an individual but as a group we haven’t sat down together and Clarko hasn’t spoken about (winning next year’s flag).

“But we will look at what the future holds for us and I’m sure it’s going to be more silverware.”

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