Hawks’ AFL duo Lake and Hale retire

Hawthorn have wasted little time beginning the regeneration of the oldest premiership team in AFL history, with triple flag-winning stars Brian Lake and David Hale announcing their retirements.

Lake, 33, had said after Saturday’s 46-point win over West Coast that he wanted to play on for one more year.

But with the Hawks looking to rejuvenate an ageing squad, the key defender was convinced it was time to end his career.

Ruckman Hale, 31, had been expected to hang up the boots after Saturday’s decider, in which he ended wearing the red substitute’s vest.

Lake played 251 games with the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn while Hale’s career included 237 matches with North Melbourne and the Hawks.

The Hawks have a ready-made replacement for Hale in Jonathan Ceglar, who was somewhat unlucky to miss out on the 2014 and 2105 grand final teams, with coach Alastair Clarkson preferring Hale and Ben McEvoy as his ruck combination.

Lake could be harder to replace, with his peerless ability to take intercept marks in defence again on show in the big win over the Eagles in the 2015 decider.

Four other members of Hawthorn’s 2015 flag-winning team are also aged over 30 – captain Luke Hodge, Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson and Sam Mitchell – while Jordan Lewis turns 30 in April.

All are expected to play on in 2016.

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