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Bupa Recovery Report: Star trio to return

QF: Bupa Recovery Report GM of Footy Operations, Chris Fagan speaks to HawksTV about the latest injury news.
Luke Hodge of the Hawks in action during the 2014 AFL Round 20 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on August 09, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Luke Hodge.

HAWTHORN will be boosted by the addition of at least three star players for Friday night’s blockbuster Qualifying Final against Geelong.

GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan revealed to hawthornfc.com.au on Tuesday skipper Luke Hodge (knee soreness), defender Ben Stratton (calf cork) and Bradley Hill (corked quad) are almost certain to return from injury for the clash at the MCG.

The trio trained with their teammates at the Ricoh Centre on Tuesday and appeared uninhibited by the respective ailments that saw them miss the win over Collingwood.

“I imagine they’ll all be in the side when it’s announced,” he said.

“All three of those had little injuries they’ve been carrying for a few weeks now so we thought we’d take the opportunity to let those clear up so they’re fresh for the finals.

“Watching those guys run around at training today, I think that was a really good decision; they were full of energy and really looking forward to playing on Friday night.”

The news is also good for full back Brian Lake, who is expected to face the Cats despite being subbed out of the game on Friday night.

After taking part in training on Tuesday, Fagan said the Hawks expect last year’s Norm Smith medallist to be available to resume his battle with Geelong’s Tom Hawkins.

“We fully expect him to take his place in the side on Friday night,” Fagan said.

“Fortunately what it was, was a bit of a corkie. It improved quite a bit on Saturday morning and he’s made steady progress in the early part of this week.

“He did some running this morning and was pain free while he did that, so he’ll train on Thursday.”

Superboot Matt Suckling remains in doubt for the crucial clash, however, as he continues to overcome a knee injury.

Suckling didn’t play against Collingwood after being subbed out at half time against the Cats in Round 22.

The lethal left footer hit the track on Tuesday with his teammates but will need to get through training on Thursday to be fit for the Qualifying Final.

“We’re really not certain and this stage whether he’ll get there or not but he’s a chance,” Fagan said.

“He’s made some good progress over the last week and was another one that ran this morning.

“He’ll train on Thursday and we’ll see how he is then.”

Gun forward Cyril Rioli, meanwhile remains on track to return in a fortnight after stepping up his training this week.

Rioli hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring against Gold Coast in Round 15 but the Hawks believe he will still feature in this year’s finals series if the team progresses.

“He’s doing everything he can to get back and he’s in good shape at the moment to do that,” Fagan said of Rioli.

“He’s stepped up his speed this week – he’s still on target to resume in a couple of weeks time.”

View this week’s injury list.