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Competition for spots hot at Hawthorn, says Burgoyne

Hawks face pressure for spots Shaun Burgoyne speaks one-on-one with
AFL 2013 Rd 09 - Hawthorn v Gold Coast
Shaun Burgoyne is loving the pressure from younger teammates
If you're not performing in the team these younger kids are going to come through and take your spot
Shaun Burgoyne

PRESSURE on Hawthorn players to keep their spots has them on edge, and that's exactly how Shaun Burgoyne likes it.

Now 30, Burgoyne has told he takes his football week-by-week, knowing it's crucial to contribute on every occasion.

"We've got a number players at Box Hill that are playing consistently good footy and they're putting pressure on the guys for spots as well, so that's a good dilemma for the coaching group to have," Burgoyne said.  

"If you're not performing in the team these younger kids are going to come through and take your spot, so it's a good spot to be in."

Injury plagued midfielder Xavier Ellis will add to that depth when he's ready, showing positive signs at Box Hill on the weekend.

“He didn’t star, but he certainly did a few really good things during the game that helped the team have a great win," Hawks head of coaching and development Chris Fagan said on

“Importantly though, he got through and has a game under his belt now and more confidence in his body, and hopefully he can step up again this week.”

But Burgoyne said Ellis was just one of many who will be vying for selection.

"We've also got Shane Savage down there playing some really good footy, and Jed Anderson and Cyril Rioli also on the comeback trail as well, so there's a number of players who can come back in and have an impact straight away," Burgoyne said.

But the Hawks will take their time with Rioli.

"He's running. He's just doing his rehab, they won't rush him.

“We've got the bye next week so they'll reassess where he's at then," Burgoyne said.  

"When he gets back in the team we want him firing."

Personally Burgoyne, ranked as the Hawks best defender in the Official AFL Player Ratings, couldn't be happier with where things are at.

"Just trying to contribute to the team, there's a lot of younger players nipping away trying to take your spot," he said.  

"I'm just enjoying my footy, and the team success at the moment."

Burgoyne is an ambassador for the Coles AFL Indigenous Program.

The new initiative will provide many young Indigenous people with the opportunity to play football at the top level while also developing leadership and life skills.

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL