While all the focus has been on Isaac Smith and his wonky knee, another Hawthorn speedster has shown a welcome return to form.
Two-time premiership player Bradley Hill looms as a crucial player for the Hawks in Friday night’s AFL qualifying final against West Coast at Domain Stadium.
Speed is always a big factor at the ground and, if Smith does not recover in time, teammates such as Hill and Billy Hartung will have to help provide the run.
“The whole team has to be able to run,” said Hawks assistant coach Adem Yze.
“Whether it’s Isaac or other players providing that run for us, it is the ground where you do need to be able to run.”
Hill’s numbers dropped off between rounds 18 and 21, but he burst back to life with impressive games against Brisbane and Carlton heading into the finals.
“He’s got his mojo back a little bit, Hilly,” Yze said.
“It’s good to see … his last couple of weeks, it’s the Brad Hill we like, breaking the lines and using his skills.
“So hopefully, he brings that out tomorrow night.”
Yze said Hill had worked with fellow assistant Cameron Bruce on his running patterns.
“He’s just started to enjoy his footy again,” Yze added.
“When he’s smiling and bubbly and joking around the club, he’s playing his best footy.
“He’s been like that, which is really good to see.”
It’s a big week for the Hill family in Perth, with older brother Stephen playing his 150th game for Fremantle on Saturday night in the other qualifying final against Sydney.
Earlier this week, Stephen admitted to a little bit of sibling jealousy that Bradley’s 71 AFL matches already featured two premierships.