Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says keeping the same team on the park is better preparation for AFL finals than resting players.
The defending champions have only made two changes to their line-up for their clash with battlers Carlton at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
Clarkson has taken a different approach to minor premiers Fremantle as well as North Melbourne, who have opted to rest a swag of stars from their final round games to freshen them up for next week’s finals.
Clarkson said he wasn’t a fan of resting players and believed there was more value in continuity for his team.
“Everyone’s got different philosophies on that and ours is that continuity and stability is a really good thing, so we want to keep the bulk of our side together going into finals irrespective of the opponent,” Clarkson said.
The coach said he didn’t want to comment on whether those teams should be allowed to rest so many players.
“It’s a delicate situation
The only changes to the Hawks are Sam Mitchell and Paul Puopolo, who missed last round through illness and injury, coming in for Luke Breust and Billy Hartung.
Breust is actually being rested, although he has hip bruising, while Hartung needs more game time that he will get in the VFL.
Clarkson said he planned to use the Blues game to fine-tune some plans he has for the AFL finals, when they are likely to travel to Perth in week one.
In their last clash in round 17 the Hawks delivered Carlton’s worst ever defeat – 138 points.
But Clarkson felt their opponents would rise to the challenge, playing their last match under interim coach John Barker who will hand over to former Hawks assistant Brendon Bolton next season.
“They’ve been competitive in games early for a long time and with the last game of the year you just never know what’s going to come in terms of some real spirit,” he said.