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Stratton's motivation for best mate Suckling

Matthew Suckling (left) and Isaac Smith of the Hawks celebrate during the AFL 2014 Second Preliminary Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and Port Adelaide Power at the MCG, Melbourne on September 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Matthew Suckling (left) and Isaac Smith of the Hawks celebrate during the AFL 2014 Second Preliminary Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and Port Adelaide Power at the MCG, Melbourne on September 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

HAWTHORN defender Ben Stratton admits the inclusion of close mate Matthew Suckling has motivated him further this season as he prepares for another Grand Final.

A popular figure at the Hawks, Suckling was forced to watch on from the sidelines as his teammates won last year’s premiership as he continued to rehabilitate his reconstructed knee.

The Hawks super boot will run out with his teammates for tomorrow’s Grand Final against the Swans though, and Stratton couldn’t be happier to be playing alongside his mate on the last Saturday in September.

“I might have given him a little hug after the Port game and showed a bit of emotion,” Stratton told hawthornfc.com.au

“It’s great to have ‘Suckers’ in the team, especially because of last year and he almost didn’t make it this year as well.

“I’m pumped to have him in the side definitely.”

Suckling returned from the serious knee injury in Round 1 this year and reminded everyone quickly of his value across half-back, playing 21 consecutive games.

But another knee injury on the eve of the finals, in Round 22 against Geelong, put his finals campaign in jeopardy again.

He was forced to sit and watch as the Hawks beat Geelong in the Qualifying Final and almost didn’t make it for the Preliminary Final.

Stratton, who was a member of Hawthorn’s premiership-winning team last year says Suckling has provded him with extra motivation to reach this year’s decider.

“It was a little motivating factor in the back of my mind, I’m not sure about the other boys but to see the disappointment – he was pumped for the boys to win last year – but you could just tell he was churning inside,” Stratton said.

“So there was definitely that ulterior motive to get some of your best mates to play in a Grand Final together.”
 


Ben Stratton and Matthew Suckling after the Preliminary Final win.

But Stratton will have much bigger things on his mind tomorrow.

The 189cm agile defender will be tasked with stopping Sydney’s dynamic tall forward line targets Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid.

He isn’t worried though, with the relaxed West Australian confident the Hawks, with Brian Lake, Josh Gibson and Matt Spangher can stop them.

“It’s a massive challenge but nothing we haven’t faced this year,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to playing on their talls and even their smalls if they come my way as well.”