HAWTHORN'S big-game experience could be telling in Sunday's must-win clash against Collingwood, star forward Jack Gunston says.

The Hawks are balancing on the precipice of the top-four after a sobering defeat to West Coast last Friday night, and will be forced to reshuffle the line-up after ruckman Jonathon Ceglar ruptured his ACL.

Hawthorn's quest for an historic fourth-straight flag could hinge on beating the Magpies, and Gunston expected his teammates to rise to the occasion.

"We're always a confident bunch in the club and we've got great depth and we've got a lot of experienced heads who know how to handle these types of situations," Gunston said.

"I guess that's been the beauty of the last three years … we know how to come out of tough situations, and we've been able to do it in the past. 

"It's leaders like the Hodges (Luke Hodge) and Mitchells (Sam Mitchell) who have been in these situations plenty of times throughout their career.

"We've got a lot of younger guys in the team that probably haven't been here before, so I'm sure [there will be] little conversations here and there leading into finals about how to prepare yourself, how to steel your mind ready for battle out on the ground."

Ceglar's injury could force sidekick Ben McEvoy, who didn't train on Tuesday, into a bigger ruck role and a restructure of Hawthorn's forward line.

Premiership forward Ryan Schoenmakers could be ready to return after two VFL matches back from a long-term groin injury, while ex-Demons big man Jack Fitzpatrick  might make his club debut.

Developing ruckman Marc Pittonet, who made his debut in round one against Geelong, and Tim O'Brien will also be in the mix for a call-up, and Gunston didn't expect too much disruption in attack.

"We're still trying to adapt and learn how we want to structure up our forward line – sometimes we want to be tall and sometimes we want to be small," Gunston said.

"We've got the talls in the VFL at the moment playing footy, obviously Schoenmakers is coming back and Fitzpatrick's down there as well.

"We've got the guys who can come in and play that role and we've got talls in there at the moment, it's just a matter of at times bringing the ball to ground and taking marks up forward."

In positive news, important defender Ben Stratton was on the training track at Waverley on Tuesday as he recovers from a pectoral injury.