Hawthorn have indicated star spearhead Lance Franklin might not be
the prime forward target in Saturday’s AFL grand final against Geelong.
was criticised for what was considered a below-par game in last
weekend’s crushing victory over St Kilda, when he managed only one goal.
Hawthorn have turned his lack of scoring into a positive, declaring he
played a different role, drawing opposition defenders out of the
goalsquare and implying he might be on similar duties this weekend.
Hawk assistant coach Damien Hardwick warned fans Franklin might not be in a position to kick a big haul of goals.
saying he was quieter (than normal last week), he did a real team role
and that was really pleasing to see that he can actually fulfil that
role,” Hardwick said.
“He took (opponent) Max Hudghton away from
fullback and opened the door for Mark Williams (who kicked five goals),
so we’re hoping he plays a similar type of role this weekend.
“A spread of goals in a grand final is very important from us and that’s what we’re hoping to get again.”
Hardwick predicted a fast, exciting game which would be rugged and high-scoring.
“The great thing about Hawthorn and Geelong is we’re very exciting sides to watch,” Hardwick said.
“We played a good, hard, tough, uncompromising brand of footy throughout the year so I don’t think anything’s going to change.
“Our guys are going to be hard at the man and hard at the man with the ball.
“That’s what we’ve done for 24 games thus far and we’ll be doing the same thing again.
“From our point of view we’ll probably have one tag and they’ll have one tag and it will just be a free-flowing game.”
the Hawthorn group Hardwick, coach Alastair Clarkson and Hawk recruit
Stuart Dew are the only ones with previous experience in a grand final.
played in Essendon’s 2000 premiership side and he and Dew both took
part in Port Adelaide’s triumph in 2004, when Clarkson was an assistant
coach for most of the season, until he won the Hawthorn job.
seems such a long time ago, 2004, but we’ve tried to play through the
process – it’s another game, try and keep the week as normal as you can
but if things do happen just go with the flow,” Hardwick said.
“It’s probably different from a playing and a coaching point of view.
“Clarko was obviously there in 2004 at Port Adelaide, so from that point of view he’s got a greater understanding than I have.
just put in a word of wisdom every now and then with regard to how to
go about our preparation but Clarko’s very astute, he would have spoken
to a lot of people this week and got a lot of advice.”
said it was inevitable that with so much depth in the team, there would
be disappointments after selection for the grand final.
“We’ve probably got a squad of 28 who could quite easily play in this game,” he said.
going to be quite a few blokes who are heartbroken but footy is a very
harsh and hostile environment and it’s going to hurt some guys.
unfortunately as coaches we have to make those hard decisions and pick
the best 22 we think are going to get us over the line on the weekend.”