Hawthorn will take a wary approach to next week’s return to full contact training as the AFL edges closer to its June 11 season restart.
AFL players were able to train at their clubs in groups of eight this week but can resume full training from May 25 – giving teams a handful of full-contact sessions to prepare for the rigours of playing.
“They’re competitive beasts … so they’re looking forward to a bit of physical stuff next week,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
“That’s probably the thing they haven’t been able to replicate in any of their preparation over the last six-to-eight weeks.
“So I think across all clubs across the league, they’re pretty fit these lads, but it’s the combative type of stuff that we need to try and pick up quickly over the course of the next two or three weeks.
“Having four or five contact sessions in the lead-in to round two will at least allow us to prepare for what we might face.”
Clarkson said the Hawks would hold their players back “a little bit” next week, in an attempt to balance minimising injuries with ensuring their players were ready for the intensity of returning to play.
“Once we get back into combative types of exercises, then you’d expect there’ll be some injuries,” he said.
“It’s a collision sport and we know injuries are going to occur – whether that’s in-game or at training … we can’t control the ones that happen in game, (but) the ones at training we can control.
“We’ll try and manage that as best we possibly can, bearing in mind that we have to put our players at some form of risk in their preparation to play because otherwise we’ll just get wiped off the park by an opposition we’re unprepared for.
“We’ve just got to try and find that balance as best we can – but that’s a challenge for all clubs with only five sessions to prepare in that manner before our next game, we’re going to need to manage that pretty well.”
Jarman Impey (ACL) and Dan Howe are unlikely to be available for round two but Blake Hardwick (chest) could push for selection.