Hodge could make AFL return as Hawks sub

Hodge could make AFL return as Hawks sub
By Eurosport

26/07/2012 at 14:43Updated 26/07/2012 at 14:44

Hawthorn are strongly considering recalling captain Luke Hodge against Essendon on Friday night after a 12-week AFL injury absence.

Hodge made his VFL return from a knee injury last weekend and coach Alastair Clarkson said on Thursday the club needed to decide whether he needed another second-tier game to continue building fitness.

"We'll give it some consideration," Clarkson told reporters on Thursday.

"But as we've said, it will depend on how he pulls up from training today.

"We've got to work out whether we play him as a sub, whether we play him on the ground or if indeed we even give him another run in the VFL."

Hodge, who started the season sidelined by a calf injury, has played just two AFL games this year, most recently in round six.

Clarkson said it might take another month for him to completely regain match fitness and while using him as a substitute on Friday night could be ideal, it might also backfire.

"If you bring him in as a sub, it's likely he might play anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes if the sub works out ideally and you make that sub towards the end of the third quarter," Clarkson said.

"But if you have him as the sub and have an injury early on he might have to play 90 per cent game time and that's not ideal.

"We've got to make those judgments, it will depend on the rest of our side, it's not just about Hodgey.

"It's about the balance of our whole side, it's about the balance of the Essendon side as well, so we'll consider that over the next 24 hours."