I wonder if former Hawk Ron Nalder, who turns 80 in September this year, took any interest in the team selections at Hawthorn leading up to the finals last year.
Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Hawthorn will sweat on the fitness of key defender James Frawley ahead of their pre-finals AFL blockbuster against Sydney.
Frawley sat out the second half of Saturday night’s nailbiting win over St Kilda because of a jarred back and coach Alastair Clarkson said they will not until Tuesday or Wednesday whether he will be available.
The stunning late-season form of Swans key forward Lance Franklin and the inexperienced Hawks defence mean they badly need Frawley to play.
“I don’t think it’s very serious, but having said that he wasn’t going to be able to come onto the ground and play at full capacity,” Clarkson said.
Hawthorn’s five-game winning streak has them in fourth spot, while Sydney have put their season back on track with three-straight wins and they are fifth.
They are on the same points as third-placed Collingwood.
Given the Magpies should beat Fremantle in Perth, Hawthorn and Sydney are playing for who finishes fourth and secures the double chance.
The winner will play Richmond in a qualifying final, while the loser will host a sudden-death elimination final.
“It’s an intriguing game, isn’t it? I think everyone had written the Swans off three weeks ago,” Clarkson said.
Franklin starred in Saturday’s win over GWS with five goals and the Hawks must curtail his influence.
“It’s always a big challenge – let him off the leash, it’s going to make it so much tougher for you,” Clarkson said.
The Hawks have won their last four games at the SCG, but they were off the boil against St Kilda and Clarkson said the better team lost.
He gave his team a fearful spray at halftime and warned that they must play much better if they are to make an impression in this finals series.
“We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves over the next two, three, four weeks,” he said.
“I’m not sure how long it will last for us, but I don’t think it will last very long if we play the sort of footy that we played (on Saturday night).”
Just as Franklin is a big key for Sydney, veteran Shaun Burgoyne remains one of Hawthorn’s most important players.
He was outstanding on Saturday night and saved the Hawks.
“You just need a little bit of class and a little bit of grit,” Clarkson said.
“Shaun Burgoyne, he’s a clutch player and he was the most influential player on the ground in the last quarter.
“Goodness knows what the result had been if we hadn’t had him.”