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Hodge readies young Hawks for AFL finals

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 Rob Forsaith

Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge says he and other veterans will help calm any nerves of the AFL club's finals debutants.

The Hawks have unveiled seven new AFL players this year and only once before has coach Alastair Clarkson blooded more footballers in an AFL season, in 2005 which was his first year in charge.

Then there is the likes of forward James Sicily, who has played 24 games for the club but is one of few on their list yet to feature in a final.

Hodge has played 21 finals, including five grand finals.

Shaun Burgoyne, Sam Mitchell, Grant Birchall, Josh Gibson, Jordan Lewis and Cyril Rioli are also well placed to tell some September stories, having played a combined total of 133 finals.

"We've got a lot of experienced players at the footy club that have spoken to the younger guys and tried to give them as much feedback as possible," Hodge said on Tuesday.

"I remember in 2008 we had Stuart Dew, who who gave us a lot of feedback and it definitely helped.

"We've had a lot of guys be there before and we'll pass on as much information to the young guys as we can."

Hodge added he has full confidence in the younger Hawks to step up in September.

"It's important for the progression of our football club," Hodge said.

Clarkson likened Hodge and his experienced teammates to assistant coaches.

"We've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of footy now and are a very, very important part of our side ... and an extension of the coaching group," Clarkson said.

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