Sport AFL Hawks opt for experience over Port’s youth

Hawks opt for experience over Port’s youth

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Hawthorn have turned to the old guard to mastermind an unlikely AFL win over Port Adelaide’s exuberant youth.

Luke Hodge returns after hamstring tightness while Brad Sewell will play his first game of the season as Alastair Clarkson seeks a response from their last-start loss to Sydney.

The Hawks start behind in the betting for the first time since 2012 for their visit to Adelaide Oval to face the Power, with the reigning premiers short of five key players.

Former captain Sam Mitchell, Josh Gibson, Brian Lake and Cyril Rioli are all absent, while spearhead Jordan Roughead’s one-week suspension has him also staying home.

Liam Shiels and Matt Ceglar have also been promoted into the Hawks’ line-up, with Kyle Cheney dropped.

The Power have recalled ruckman Matthew Lobbe in place of former Hawk Brent Renouf.

Out-of-form Richmond head to Greater Western Sydney, who have made an extraordinary seven changes.

Shane Mumford, Jeremy Cameron and Adam Treloar headline the Giants’ inclusions, with five players dropped in addition to Toby Greene’s club-imposed suspension and Nick Haynes’ ankle injury.

Stephen Gilham, Curtly Hampton, Jacob Townsend and Dylan Addison will also return for GWS.

Jack Riewoldt has avoided the axe from Richmond’s side, with the out-of-form Coleman medallist being brought sharply into line by coach Damien Hardwick on Thursday morning for suggesting the Tigers had tried and failed to replicate the game plan of premiers Hawthorn.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has been named after his ankle withstood a physical training session on Thursday.

The Tigers are still rated by bookmakers $1.36 favourites to knock over the Giants at Spotless Stadium but Hardwick said to do that they needed to stop powerhouse ruckman Mumford, who has been sidelined since round three.

“He’s an incredible player and it’s amazing the difference and drop-off in clearances (without him),” he said.

“In the first three rounds, their clearances were No.1 and, over the next five rounds, they went to 18.”

AAP