HAWTHORN defender Josh Gibson would love to see Ben Stratton return against Geelong to bolster a backline unit that has punched well above its weight in the opening month of the AFL season.

With Brian Lake coming back through the VFL after serving a three-match suspension and Stratton (hamstring) and Ryan Schoenmakers (knee) both yet to play at the top level this year, the Hawks have had their key defensive depth well and truly tested.

Matt Spangher and the undersized Kyle Cheney have stepped up to support Gibson, although Spangher will miss several weeks after injuring his ankle last weekend against Gold Coast.

So with the latest instalment of the epic rivalry with the League's only other undefeated team Geelong looming large on Easter Monday, Stratton is right in the selection frame after playing the past two rounds in the VFL.

"He got through fine so he'll be in the mix," Gibson said on Wednesday.

"If we can get him back it will be a nice little addition."

The Hawks finally ended an 11-game losing streak against Geelong in last year's preliminary final.

"They've always been tough games, but in the same instance we haven't performed that well, apart from the final last year," Gibson said.

"We really look forward to playing them and we realise that we have to start performing better than we have in the last 10 or so if we want to get the ledger back in our favour.

"(The feeling) is different just from the fact that we won, but I don't think we can be comfortable just thinking we've beaten them once.

"They're such a good side that if we go out there and think it's just going to happen again like that, we'll get beaten and beaten well.

"We're going in hungry and realise we really need to lift our game and play our top footy to beat them once again."