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'Chip' Frawley can cut it, declares fellow Hawthorn defender

Match Highlights: Hawks v Pies Hawthorn and Collingwood head to Launceston in the NAB Challenge
It took me plenty of time to learn a new style. You play one way for your career and then you play a different system
Josh Gibson, on James Frawley

JAMES Frawley will find his feet in Hawthorn's backline once more premiership-winning Hawks return to the side, teammate Josh Gibson believes.

Hawthorn's youthful back six – missing Gibson, Brian Lake, Grant Birchall and Matt Spangher – were thrown a curveball in the first quarter of Thursday night's 44-point NAB Challenge loss to Collingwood when 198cm defender Kaiden Brand dislocated his left shoulder.

It meant Frawley carried more workload than anticipated in his first match in brown and gold and the ex-Demon had his hands full trying to contain influential Pies forward Jesse White (two goals).

Hodge backs under-fire Frawley

But Gibson, who switched from North Melbourne to Hawthorn in 2009, understands how tough it can be slotting into a new team and he backed Frawley to settle in with more experienced players around him.

"It took me plenty of time to learn a new style. You play one way for your career and then you play a different system," Gibson told AFL.com.au during Hawthorn's community camp in Tasmania.

"So he's still finding his feet but it's like our younger guys coming up taking some time at AFL level.

"It was also tough with ‘KB’ going down early, he was playing as a tall, so it really changed the mix from the first contest.

"We've been really happy with his (Frawley's) progress thus far and when we all play together he'll continue to strengthen the group.

"We've been doing a lot at training. We'll get out there probably next week and all play together (against North Melbourne)."

Earlier this week, Alastair Clarkson told AFL.com.au the Hawks chased Frawley for the flexibility he would bring to the side.

The 26-year-old often played up forward for Melbourne last year, but by holding down a key defensive post he could also release Gibson, Lake or Ben Stratton into attack.

Gibson, who spent time 10-pin bowling with children from the Starlight Foundation in Launceston on Saturday, said he would welcome the chance to sneak forward but said he wasn't "holding my breath" after never kicking a goal in 100 games for the Hawks.

Instead, entering his 10th season in the AFL, the soon to be 31-year-old is focused on maintaining the standards that drove him to become one of the competition's premier backmen and the Peter Crimmins medallist in 2013.

"Some people, when they get to 30, the number scares them," Gibson said.

"But in terms of training I'm doing everything and I had a couple of younger guys the other day joke they couldn't believe I was turning 31 this year, so that's a good sign.

"They didn't realise I was that old, so either I'm really immature or I'm just like (movie character) Benjamin Button."

Gibson, whose contract expires this year, bounced back from a torn pectoral to play a key role in the Hawks' back-to-back triumph and believes he's got plenty of good football ahead of him.

"I'm enjoying it and, as long as the body's fine, my management and the club will speak and hopefully I've got a couple more years left in me."