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Hawk puzzled by Lake retirement theory

AFL 2015 Rd 22 - Hawthorn v Brisbane
Josh Gibson, pictured with David Hale and Brian Lake, says he doesn't know where the former defender's retirement theory came from

HAWTHORN defender Josh Gibson has poured cold water on former teammate Brian Lake's suggestion that the club was looking to retire two veterans a season as it makes the transition from one era to another.

Lake told RSN on Thursday morning that his departure from the Hawks was part of a plan the club had to move on two senior players per season, and that David Hale and he were the first.

"I did want to play on, but you could see with their list what they were trying to do," Lake said.

"I think they were going to go [retire] two, two and two with the older guys, and me and David Hale were probably the guys to go first – and that did happen," Lake said.

"It'll be interesting to see how they 'future-out' the other guys, with Hodgey, you'd say (it will) probably be Shaun's [Shaun Burgoyne] last year at Hawthorn as well."

However Gibson queried where Lake had got his information from and said the last thing his teammates were thinking about on the eve of the season was retirement.

"I don't know where Lakey has got that from," Gibson said. 

"Maybe he's getting into the coach's box, I don't know. Right now no one is thinking about retirements. We're focusing on having a big 2016 season and doing our best against Geelong on Monday."

Hawthorn was the oldest team to win a premiership when it defeated West Coast in 2015 and four of its best players including Shaun Burgoyne, Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Gibson have turned 30.

The veterans' allowance that gave clubs salary cap relief for keeping experience on the list is also being abolished at the end of the season.

However those players filled four of the top five placings in the 2015 club best and fairest, with neither Lake nor Hale finishing in the top 10.

Gibson said the club made a point of not looking at birth certificates when rating player performance.

"'Clarko' (coach Alastair Clarkson) doesn't talk about bloke's ages. It's about what you are doing on the field and [if] some guys retire then that is the way it is," Gibson said.