Hodge, Gunston out to prove AFL fitness

Captain Luke Hodge and forward Jack Gunston will be the centre of attention at Hawthorn’s main training session ahead of the AFL grand final.

Several thousand Hawks fans will be at the club’s Waverley Park headquarters on Thursday to watch the noon training run.

Hodge hurt his hamstring late in last Friday night’s preliminary final win over Fremantle, but is expected to play on Saturday against West Coast.

He did not train with the main group on Tuesday.

Hodge and Gunston had their own training sessions on Wednesday morning.

Gunston is still probably the bigger issue.

He hurt his ankle in the qualifying final loss to the Eagles and has not played since.

Given Hawthorn’s strong form in the two games since the West Coast loss, if Gunston returns then whoever makes way for him will be desperately unlucky.

“If he’s available to play, then I’m pretty certain we’re going to pick him and there will be some heartbreak story,” coach Alastair Clarkson told Gold 104.3.

Otherwise Thursday night’s grand final team announcements should be straightforward.

The Hawks have no other major injury concerns and the Eagles will probably announce an unchanged lineup after their preliminary final win over North Melbourne.

The Eagles will fly out of Perth on Thursday afternoon ahead of Friday’s grand final parade.

Hawks president Andrew Newbold raised eyebrows on Wednesday when he spoke about the depth of admiration he has for West Coast.

“I shouldn’t probably say this but I’d be really pleased if they won it,” he said.

“Obviously, I’m desperate for our club to win it but, if they (Eagles) were to win it, you won’t hear any complaints out of me.”

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