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Jack Fitzpatrick likely to get Hawk lifeline

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Jack Fitzpatrick of the Hawks (centre) celebrates a goal with teammates Shaun Burgoyne (left) and Sam Mitchell of the Hawks during the 2016 AFL Round 23 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 28, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Jack Fitzpatrick's crucial goal in round 23 sealed the double chance for the Hawks

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HAWTHORN has flagged its intention to bring big man Jack Fitzpatrick back to the club next season.

The Hawks will utilize a selection at either Friday night's NAB AFL Draft or Monday's rookie draft in order to select ruck/forward Fitzpatrick, who was delisted last month but who trained at the Ricoh Centre on Monday.

"We'd love to have Jack back," Hawks list manager Graham Wright told the club website.

"Whether that's national draft or rookie draft we'll make that decision on the night.

"We're keen to have him back as part of the club. He'll train the rest of the week and hopefully we can get him in over those couple of days."

Fitzpatrick, 25, played three games for the Hawks this year after crossing from Melbourne. A late-season knee injury to Jonathon Ceglar opened the door for his senior debut in round 23 against Collingwood, during which he sealed the double chance for the Hawks with a sensational long running goal with just moments to go. He then played in both of Hawthorn's losing finals.

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Hawthorn recruited Richmond big man Ty Vickery as an unrestricted free agent last month and he shapes as a near-certain starter in round 1.

But as was the case this year, Fitzpatrick will be a handy depth player and he should be better after another year in the Hawthorn system and with some more continuity. He missed several weeks in 2016 because of the lingering effects of concussion.

By virtue of their busy trade period that also landed prized midfield pair Jaeger O'Meara and Tom Mitchell, the Hawks will play a minimal role on Friday night. They have already upgraded midfielder Kade Stewart to the primary list. 

The club's first selection is pick No.88 but Wright is forecasting that between 65 to 70 players will be selected on the night once clubs start to pass on their picks, and that the Hawks might have the last two live selections on the night.

"We put ourselves in that position and we understand why," he said.

"We know the picks will come in from that position and that we'll be at the tail end of the draft. There won't be too many picking after us, I would have thought.

The Hawks have a list of about 70 players who they anticipate will be available by the time they enter the draft, with most of their names also in contention for the rookie draft on Monday afternoon.

He said the club would likely target the best available players on Friday night rather than by position.