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Hawks lose Rioli for Blues, Hardwick in for debut

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 08: Blake Hardwick of the Hawks in action during the Hawthorn Hawks training session at the Ricoh Centre in Melbourne, Australia on February 08, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Blake Hardwick will make his debut against Carlton

HAWTHORN will hand a debut to 19-year-old Blake Hardwick in Saturday's clash with Carlton at Aurora Stadium following the late withdrawal of star forward Cyril Rioli.

Rioli was withdrawn due to 'general soreness' meaning the 44th pick from last year's NAB AFL Draft will receive his chance in front of a sold-out crowd in Launceston.

Hawthorn has won its past 18 matches in Tasmania and will be shooting for a remarkable 19th consecutive win at the venue this afternoon.

Hardwick, a product of the Eastern Ranges and Beverley Hills Junior Football Club will play forward for the Hawks and will be looking to hit the scoreboard to consolidate on the 12 goals he's booted in 11 VFL matches for Box Hill Hawks this year.

Hardwick will be the fifth Hawk to debut in 2016 following Marc Pittonet, Kaiden Brand plus fellow first-year players Kieran Lovell and Kade Stewart into the side.

The Blues will go in as selected.