Australian Football League Pre Seasons NAB Challenge Cup Live St Kilda Saints vs Hawthorn Hawks Stream AFL NAB Cup Week 04 match will be kick off at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday 21 March 2015 online, 19.10pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Foxtell.
Hawthorn Hawks will field its strongest team yet in Thursday night’s final NAB Challenge hit-out against St Kilda.
As preparations ramp up for the Round 1 blockbuster against Geelong, GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan says it’s imperative to get match conditioning into the senior players.
The Hawks played a young and inexperienced side in its pre-season opener against Collingwood on 26 February but a more senior side against North Melbourne in Shepparton.
The team that takes the field against the Saints at Etihad Stadium will be brimming with premiership stars as Alastair Clarkson fine-tunes his plans for the season proper.
“We’ll be picking our best available team,” GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan told hawthornfc.com.au on Monday.
“Round 1 on Thursday night will still be 18 days away, so it’s really important we get some good quality game time into our more senior group.”
After playing a half against North Melbourne in Shepparton, Fagan identified Cyril Rioli as one Hawk who’ll be given more time against St Kilda.
The Hawks are yet to record a victory this pre-season, going down to the Pies and Roos in its first two matches.
But Fagan says the club isn’t concerned by the results.
“For us the pre-season has never really been about winning,” he said.
“It’s more about trying out some young players and getting some decent time into our experienced players who are more likely to be picked for Round 1. It’s also about fine-tuning our game plan a little bit.
“We don’t take too much notice of form, we just want to do the basics really well.”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty for the Hawks to work on though.
The Hawks were one of the best defensive teams in the league last season, conceding on average just 79 points per game.
But Fagan identified the defence as one area requiring improvement after it conceded four of the last five goals against North Melbourne and 17 goals against Collingwood in the pre-season opener.
“For our more senior group, they’re starting to get excited the season is just around the corner,” Fagan said.
“(But) they know they need to lift their performance levels from where they’ve been, particularly against North Melbourne.
“They’re a good opponent but we were a little bit disappointed with elements of our game.
“We feel like we need to sharpen up, particularly defensively, so we’ll be looking for that on Thursday night.”
Thursday night will also be the last chance for some Hawks to push their case for a spot in Hawthorn’s team for the Round 1 Easter Monday blockbuster against Geelong.
“There’s plenty of heat on for spots – come Round 1 we hope there’s 28-30 blokes who have all got their hands up and we’ve got a hard decision to make,” Fagan said.
St Kilda Saints: 1. Tom Hickey, 3. Jack Steven, 4. Eli Templeton, 7. Luke Dunstan, 8. Blake Acres, 9. Tom Lee, 11. Leigh Montagna, 13. Adam Schneider, 16. Jack Newnes, 17 Dylan Roberton, 21. Luke Delaney, 23. Spencer White, 24. Sean Dempster, 25. Sam Fisher, 26. Tom Curren, 27. Josh Bruce, 28. Tim Membrey, 32. Paddy McCartin, 33. Hugh Goddard, 34. Nathan Wright, 37. Jack Lonie, 38. Ahmed Saad, 39. Cameron Shenton, 40. Jack Sinclair, 41. Darren Minchington, 42. Lewis Pierce, 44. Maverick Weller
Hawthorn Hawks: 2. Jarryd Roughead, 3. Jordan Lewis, 4. Matt Suckling, 5. Sam Mitchell, 6. Josh Gibson, 7. Ben McEvoy, 8. Taylor Duryea, 9. Shaun Burgoyne, 10. Bradley Hill, 12. James Frawley, 13. Jonathan O’Rourke, 15. Luke Hodge, 16. Isaac Smith, 17. Brian Lake, 18. Jonathon Ceglar, 19. Jack Gunston, 21. James Sicily, 22. Luke Breust, 24. Ben Stratton, 26. Liam Shiels, 28. Paul Puopolo, 29. Will Langford, 31. Angus Litherland, 32. Jonathan Simpkin, 33. Cyril Rioli, 37. Jed Anderson, 40. Billy Hartung