HAWTHORN skipper Luke Hodge is set for a senior return on Sunday against Melbourne after an impressive 18-disposal game for Box Hill Hawks in a practice match win by 15-points over the Northern Bullants on Saturday.
Hodge tested his Achilles out for more than 90 minutes at Box Hill City Oval and was one of the best.
Box Hill coach and Hawks development coach Damian Carroll said Hodge was primed for a senior return after two solid VFL practice match hit-outs.
“He contributed really well again and played about 90 minutes of football,” Carroll said.
“He played through the midfield, on ball and across half back in the last quarter. I thought he was pretty good and got another 90 minutes under his belt so it’s good for him from a conditioning point of view as well.”
“I think he’s prepared well enough. Hawthorn is trying to make sure he is ready and today made him closer to that.”
Hodge’s team-mate Xavier Ellis controlled the centre clearances and arguably won Box Hill the game yesterday.
“His clearance work was a feature of his game, he won a lot of clearances and I think that helped us win the game in the end, he won a lot of stoppages,” Carroll said.
Other Hawks to impress were Brent Guerra (18 disposals) and youngster Paul Puopolo, who has pushed his case for a senior debut with 22 disposals.
Carroll said ruckman Max Bailey, who has had three knee reconstructions, is slowly improving his game time but may need another few VFL matches to be considered for AFL selection.
By Brent Diamond