HE WAS a dual premiership superstar at Hawthorn, but Lance Franklin is now just a "faceless man" to the Hawks, coach Alastair Clarkson says.
Talk about the now Sydney Swans forward fronting up to face his ex-teammates and the hordes of formerly adoring fans for the first time at the MCG has dominated the build-up to Saturday night's blockbuster.
But in his weekly press conference, Clarkson was keen to steer the conversation away from Buddy.
"Bud's been a really, really valuable member of this footy club for a long period of time but as of October or November of last year he's wearing a red and white jumper now," Clarkson said on Friday.
"So he's a faceless man in a sense from our point-of-view. We appreciate and respect everything he did for our footy club but we move on."
Of greater concern for Clarkson is plotting the Swans' downfall.
John Longmire's men are flying on the back of an equal club record 12-game winning streak and would move two games clear of the third-placed Hawks with victory on Saturday night.
Containing the Swans' potent tall forward line looms as Clarkson's biggest headache.
The Hawks have regained Josh Gibson for the first time since he tore a pectoral in the 19-point loss to the Swans in round eight, but have lost in-form defender Matt Spangher to ankle soreness and will be undersized down back.
With Brian Lake still suspended, Ryan Schoenmakers (195cm), Ben Stratton and Gibson (both 189cm) will be fighting an uphill battle against Franklin (198cm), Kurt Tippett (201cm) and Sam Reid (196cm), who have combined for 75 goals during their injury-interrupted seasons.
"(Spangher's injury) is not ideal for us because he's been pretty good for us 'Spang'," Clarkson said.
"We're fortunate that as 'Spang' has a bit of a hiccup – and hopefully it will only take a week to recover from that ankle – that 'Gibbo's' good enough to return and fill in there.
"They're different sorts of players but hopefully we'll be able to hold their front end a little bit because they've been really powerful.
"If they get supply then they're going to cause us some damage, irrespective of who our personnel is in our back end."
Clarkson admitted it would be a "special game" because of the two clubs' rivalry – enhanced by the 2012 Grand Final and the teams' positions on the ladder.
But it will be an especially significant occasion for luckless Hawk Alex Woodward, who will finally make his debut after two knee reconstructions.
The 21-year-old, who was drafted from the Sandringham Dragons with pick No.53 overall in 2011, has banged the door down for selection thanks to his scintillating VFL form.
"It just got to a point where irrespective of the profile of the game we just had to pick him," Clarkson said.
"He's had a really tough initiation into AFL footy. His first two years were marred by two knee reconstructions and then he's worked really hard over the course of this year to get his match-conditioning and his footy right.
"He deserves his chance. It's a great story and we're really looking forward to what he can contribute to our side in the latter part of the year."