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We’ll give it all we’ve got: Hodge

Luke Hodge of Hawthorn in action during a Hawthorn Hawks training session at Waverly Park in Melbourne. (Photo:Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Luke Hodge is confident the Hawks can overcome Geelong on Monday

HE WON’T be playing in his side’s season opener, but Captain Luke Hodge has no doubt the playing group will give everything they’ve got against Geelong on Easter Monday at the MCG.

The Hawks haven’t beaten Geelong since the 2008 Grand Final, falling short against the Cats on the last nine occasions.

The Hawks skipper played down the Cats’ winning streak though, declaring their era of success has given them an impressive record over most sides.

He believes it has been their ability to groom and develop their youngsters to fill the shoes vacated by retired, injured or suspended senior players that has enabled them to continue to feature in September.

“If you look at Geelong’s record over the last six years, I reckon they’d have a record like that over quite a few teams,” Hodge said.

“One thing Geelong has done over the last five years is they’ve been able to groom young guys to come through.

“So if an older guy does miss through injury or suspension, the younger guy is more than happy to step up and play his role for the side.”

Hodge didn’t shy away, however, from the fact the Hawks have fallen agonisingly short against Geelong.

Remarkably, the Cats have defeated Hawthorn by under a goal five times since the Hawks claimed the 2008 premiership.

The captain is expecting a similar match on Monday, with both teams ready and raring to go.

“We’ve been in a few situations where we probably could have beaten them and let it slip,” he said.

“Both teams want to start off the season on a good note and I think it’s going to be another good, close, hard fought out game.

“This is a good chance for us to kick off the season the way we want.”

Hodge says the playing group isn’t preoccupied with breaking the Cats winning streak.

Instead, the Hawks just want to begin the season with a win, regardless of the opponent.

“Any side after a long pre-season, as soon as the first game comes around everyone is just jumping out of their skin to play and we’re no different,” he said.

“This is going to be no different, we’re going to go out there against a quality Geelong side and give it everything we’ve got.

“It’s (the streak) more for the media and for the fans that like to talk about that stuff.

“All we worry about is the best way we can go about beating Geelong and hopefully we can carry that out on Monday.”

The captain is confident the attitude the playing group displayed over summer has them well placed to begin a challenging opening two months of the season with a win.

In the opening seven rounds, the Hawks face each of last year’s top eight sides including matches against West Coast and Collingwood in round two and three.

He says the Club knows it needs to improve on last year’s output if it wants to feature deep into September in season 2013.

“The attitude of the guys throughout the pre-season has been great, it has been competitive,” he said.

“We know to get back up there, there’s that many good quality sides going around out there that you’ve got to be on your game or else you’re going to fail.”