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A HUG from Alastair Clarkson and a glimmer of hope that he might still earn a late call-up have helped Billy Hartung deal with the heartbreak of being dropped for the Grand Final. 

The speedy wingman was the unlucky Hawk who made way for returning spearhead Jack Gunston, when many thought swingman Ryan Schoenmakers could have been on the chopping block. 

Hartung played 20 games this year and his blistering pace was used as a weapon in the past two finals victories, when he was unleashed off the bench in the final quarters after starting in the green sub's vest.

But Clarkson has opted for an extra tall for the Grand Final and had to break the news to a shattered Hartung after training on Thursday.

"It was disappointing news, but I'm pretty proud of the season I've had so far," Hartung told AFL.com.au at the Grand Final parade.

"I'm only 20 years old and I was able to play the majority of a season in a premiership side, so that's something I can hang my hat on. 

"(Clarkson) told me yesterday I wasn't going to play and he gave me a big hug. 

"He said: 'Funny things can happen before a game' and it has before, so I've just got to prepare as though I am playing and who knows? Stranger things have happened before and I might be playing." 

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Hartung has been the Hawks' surprise packet in his second season at the elite level and earned a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in round seven. 

Despite his own disappointment, the young gun said he was "rapt" for Schoenmakers, who has finally earned his shot at redemption.

Schoenmakers played in the losing 2012 decider, but the 24-year-old swingman missed the next year's premiership due to a knee reconstruction and wasn't selected for last year's poleaxing of the Sydney Swans.

"It was mid-week Clarko told me (I was playing). I got a phone call and I must admit I was pretty nervous when I saw his name come up, but it was good news, which was fantastic," Schoenmakers told AFL.com.au.

"It's a lot of hard work and heartbreak that has gone into this after watching the last couple of years. So it's great to get another opportunity.

"It's tough (for Hartung), but all the boys know what he's contributed throughout the year and we'll get around him and make it as good as we can for him." 

Meanwhile, Gunston declared he would be "100 per cent" for the Grand Final after two weeks on the sidelines sweating on an ankle injury. 

The star forward was relieved when he pulled up well from a training session on Monday and knew he was going to be fit to play before a searching fitness test on Thursday.

Gunston undertook a rigorous rehabilitation program of icing and running on an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill to make sure he would play in a fourth consecutive Grand Final.

"I stayed off my legs the last two weeks and if the Grand Final had have been last week, it would have been touch-and-go," Gunston said.

"But I came out on and trained Monday and pulled up well, so there's no doubt in my mind. I did everything the coaches and fitness staff wanted me to do.

"Yesterday was just to get another solid training session and a bit of touch and just be out there with the boys again. I pulled up well last night and this morning, so I'm ready to go."