Hodge misses training ahead of AFL decider

Hawthorn are taking no risks with Luke Hodge, easing their talismanic skipper through training in the build-up to Saturday’s AFL grand final against West Coast.

A buzz went around Waverley on Tuesday when Hodge and injured forward Jack Gunston didn’t run out with the squad for the training session.

Hodge was spotted training inside by himself before emerging with Gunston 15 minutes after the main group to do some light drills.

Wingman Isaac Smith, who had a late-season knee injury, also only took part in a short work-out.

While there was no official word from Hawthorn, dual Norm Smith medallist Hodge is believed to be managing a hamstring injury, suffered late in their preliminary final win over Fremantle.

Gunston was scheduled for a rest day after giving his injured ankle a probing test on Monday.

The Hawks’ leading goal-kicker hasn’t played since the qualifying final loss to their grand final opponents West Coast in Perth.

Speaking to the media prior to the session, veteran midfielder Sam Mitchell said no decision would be made on Gunston’s availability for the MCG decider until later in the week.

“If you talk to any player out there they’re pretty confident they’ll get up and play in a grand final,” Mitchell said.

“He could be doing an Nat Fyfe and getting up and playing on a broken leg and would still tell you he’s right to go.

“It’s going to be up to the more strenuous stuff that happens later in the week.”

Preparing for his fifth grand final, Mitchell said the opportunity to win a third successive flag wouldn’t be a driving motivation and he would try not to think about it before game day.

“If those kind of thoughts come to mind I try to let them wash away,” Mitchell said.

“For me I’ve got to prepare for the game, not the spectacle … the legacy is for 5.30 on Saturday, not 2pm.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell said the Hawks would be well-prepared for the forecast 28 degrees.

He said Hawthorn’s fitness coach Andrew Russell had been preparing them for such a day for the past four years.

“I’m glad it’s going to be warm because for the last four years he has had us once or twice a week from about round 18 onwards getting in the steam-room preparing for a hot final’s day and the last three grand finals have been cold,” Mitchell said.

“We’ve been getting in to him saying this is a waste of time … so he’s finally going to have the last say.

“Four years of preparation is going to pay off.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!