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Pup pumped for AFLX

Liam Shiels 'Going to be a great opportunity' Liam Shiels will captain the side this week as the team take part in the new game at Etihad Stadium.

HAWTHORN'S AFLX captain Liam Shiels is looking forward to the next wave of Hawks putting on a show in the newest form of the game on Friday night.

Read: AFLX squad announced

Premiership players Shiels, Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Ryan Schoenmakers add experience to a mostly youthful Hawthorn team in AFLX.

Ryan Burton, James Sicily, Blake Hardwick, Daniel Howe and Tim O'Brien emerged last year, but Teia Miles' four games are the most from of the remaining 10 members in the club's AFLX squad.

"Obviously, with Rough (Jarryd Roughead) and Issy (Isaac Smith) out, the opportunity's fallen to me to skipper the side, so it's a privilege to captain this club whenever you get the opportunity," Shiels said.

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"I love the (AFLX) concept. We've been playing a little bit here at training and it's a really enjoyable game; it's a pretty free-flowing, quick game, so it suits the runners.

"But I think most of the boys are really excited to get out there on Friday night and test ourselves against opposition."

AFLX offers another chance for two-gamer Dallas Willsmore to push his claims for a round one spot after a 29-disposal effort at half-back in the Hawks' full-length intraclub match last week.

The 191cm Willsmore has played up forward and through the midfield in his time at the club, but might be set to blossom in a new role in defence.

"He's played some really good footy at Box Hill (in the past three years) and he was fantastic in the intraclub playing off half-back," Shiels said.

"He had a great couple of intercept marks and he's a great ball user. I think AFLX will suit him as a game and hopefully we'll see a bit of him in the real season this year.

"He's had a fantastic pre-season, along with a number of young guys, but he's one who's really stood out probably especially over the last couple of months … so big things for Dallas in 2018."

Carlton, Melbourne, Essendon, North Melbourne and St Kilda join Hawthorn in playing at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs