Eagles not scared of bully boy Hawks

Hawthorn will be aiming to inflict plenty of bruises during Saturday’s grand final, but West Coast plan to hit their opponents where it hurts the most – on the scoreboard.

The Hawks are renowned for their `unsociable football’, with their uncompromising brand helping them reach four consecutive grand finals.

In last year’s grand final against Sydney, the Hawks bullied their opponents early to set the tone for a 63-point thumping.

West Coast’s fledgling squad struggled to match the more battle-hardened sides last year, but an extensive weights program over summer has since closed that gap.

Hawthorn were made to look second rate in their 32-point qualifying final loss to West Coast a fortnight ago.

But they are expected to come out with all guns blazing in Saturday’s re-match at the MCG.

Eagles captain Shannon Hurn is confident his team will be able to handle any physicality Hawthorn throws their way.

“Blokes understand it’s going to be physical and it’s going to be contested,” Hurn said on Monday.

“But at the end of the day, you’ve still got to win the ball.

“It’s all well and good to run around and set examples with going at the man.

“But if you can win the ball and get it going forward and put some scoreboard pressure on, that’s the biggest thing in football.

“The first couple of minutes it will be pretty hot, and then it will just settle into a normal game.

“We’ll be able to adapt to whatever comes.”

Hawthorn will enter the grand final as favourites as they attempt to become the first team since Brisbane in 2003 to win three flags in a row.

Hurn said he and his teammates don’t care one bit about being the underdogs.

“Once you get to this time of the year, you can make a case for anyone,” Hurn said.

“Of course Hawthorn have had four grand finals in a row, and this is our first time at it. But our form has been really good.”

Around 8000 fans flocked to Eagles training on Monday to watch their heroes in action.

The mood was bubbly during the light session, with West Coast free of any injury concerns heading into the biggest match of the year.

Hurn says he feels for vice-captain Scott Selwood, who is likely to be named as an emergency after struggling to regain top form following a long-standing ankle injury.

Hawthorn are set to recall star forward Jack Gunston, who completed a searching fitness test on Monday to prove he has overcome his ankle injury.

Hurn is now just one win away from becoming a premiership captain and is keen to set the tone for his teammates on Saturday.

“I just want to try to set a good example and be pretty calm about things,” he said.

“You don’t need to be spectacular. You’ve just got to make sure that when it’s your turn to go, you go.”

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