Curbing the influence of imposing West Coast full-forward Josh Kennedy is one of the keys to Hawthorn’s AFL premiership tilt and Josh Gibson is delighted that the Hawks have James Frawley to help them do it.
The former Melbourne fullback has endured some injury hardship in his first season at the club but he looms as a key figure on Saturday after bouncing back to form with the scalps of Adelaide’s Taylor Walker and Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich in the past fortnight.
Gibson spoke to reporters before his side’s final training session on Thursday and while he said team defence was the most important aspect of stopping the Eagles’ Coleman medallist, he agreed Frawley’s influence would be crucial.
“I feel we match up well (as a defence) … but my life has become a little bit easier, I’m sleeping a bit better, since we got Frawley across,” Gibson said.
“(But) the key to beating a good forward line is team defence – all six working together. You can’t just rely on one guy to do the role. Someone will get to start on him but the other five guys that are around will have to help out because he’s so dangerous.”
Coach Alastair Clarkson put the finishing touches on his team’s preparation for the premiership decider with a light 55-minute training run at Waverley.
The fitness of Jack Gunston and Luke Hodge was a big talking point this week but the pair joined their teammates and moved freely in the session held in front of 5000 fans.
Clarkson barely had his players move at anything more than half pace but the session was completed without mishap.
History beckons for the Hawks with a historic third flag in a row on offer on Saturday but Gibson said that he hadn’t allowed himself to think about that prospect.
“For us it’s about finishing off 2015, we’ve worked so hard to get here and we want to play another good four quarters on grand final day,” he said.
“We don’t talk about the three-peat.
“Each year you rock up and you put the previous one behind you and focus on having a really good campaign.
“I know that myself and the rest of the group are hungry, we’re motivated and driven. This is what we play footy for and it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past.”