• Grand Final preview: Hawthorn v West Coast
• What you need to know for the Grand Final
• Last time they met: Hawthorn v West Coast
• Dead-eye Hawks could have a major advantage
• Disposal quality, not quantity, key to Mitchell
HAWTHORN stars Luke Hodge and Jack Gunston have been put through their paces in a secret training session under the watchful eye of Alastair Clarkson, just three days out from the Grand Final.
The Hawks pair completed a short session at Waverley early in the morning on Wednesday – traditionally Hawthorn players' day off.
Both were 15 minutes late to training on Tuesday and didn't join in with the main group.
Hodge is recovering after a heavy landing late in the preliminary final win over Fremantle, with the 31-year-old requiring treatment on his right hamstring during the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, the skipper was seen running in straight lines alongside fitness guru Andrew Russell, but reportedly didn't kick a football.
Meanwhile, Gunston (ankle) kicked at goal and chatted with Clarkson. The Hawks spearhead is pushing to return for his first match since the qualifying final nearly three weeks ago.
Despite Hawthorn's concerns, retired premiership midfielder Brad Sewell hosed down fears either of his former teammates would miss out on the club's fourth consecutive Grand Final.
"I would imagine both will be playing. Both are critically important," Sewell said.
"Hodgey would need to have a broken leg at the very least not to be out there, I imagine. I think missing a limb he'd still (play)."
If Gunston is selected, he could force out Ryan Schoenmakers, who has performed solidly taking 15 marks and booting three goals in the past two cut-throat finals.
Sewell suffered selection heartache last year after he was omitted for the Hawks' preliminary final win over Port Adelaide and couldn't regain his place for the Grand Final triumph over the Swans.
The 200-gamer announced his retirement at the best-and-fairest count a week later.
Despite the selection intrigue, Sewell said Schoenmakers wouldn't be paying attention to outside commentary about his position.
"As a player you don't listen to any of that - you block it out completely," he said.
"Any week of football, least of all Grand Final week, the moment you start listening to or buying into all that periphery noise, it's not good for you.
"I would imagine he's switched off completely from anything that's said outside the four walls of Hawthorn."
Sewell, who played in the first of Hawthorn's back-to-back flags, doubted a shot at becoming only the fifth club to clinch a premiership hat-trick would be driving the Hawks this week.
"I don't know if they would be talking about it," he said.
"I'm sure it's a thought that's crossed their minds at some stage, but whether that's a driving force for them to win on Saturday to be considered one of the best Hawthorn sides … I don't think that's front of mind for them."
However he thought Grand Final experience would work to the Hawks' advantage over West Coast, with only three Eagles having played in a season-decider.
Sewell tipped the Hawks to triumph by four to six goals, with in-form star Sam Mitchell his pick to win the Norm Smith Medal, believing the ageing Hawthorn warriors wouldn't be battle-weary, despite a tough finals campaign featuring two trips to Perth.
"It's always a consideration with an ageing group, I guess, experience can be a strength and weakness," he said.
"But I don't think there are many clubs as good as Hawthorn in terms of managing the list and managing the players to ensure they're as fresh, battled-hardened and fit for this last month of football."
Speaking to AFL.com.au, leading sports medico Dr. Peter Larkins said Gunston was "a better than even chance to play" in the Grand Final.
"He's just coming up to the 21-day mark and I guess with that ankle injury that's about the time you'd expect him to be able to put it under pressure to change direction," he said.
"So far he's been doing straight-line work, so he hasn't really tested it out the way you would expect in a match. They have to really be able to convince themselves literally by Thursday, because Friday will be too late.
"Another week would've been absolutely sure. It's a big call, but I think they need him."
Larkins said Hodge has been cleared of concussion concerns from his heavy landing and was being nursed through the week.
"He looked like he was a bit stunned for a period of time and then he developed a very significant spasm and cramp in the hamstring, which they worked on," Larkins said.
"Hodgey's just an old man these days, I say that nicely, he's pretty sore. The head was cleared pretty quickly from them, they weren't concerned that he had any residual troubles from that.
"This week he's having a lighter week just as a veteran player. The hamstring is really just being protected so he didn't irritate it during the week, it's not a tear, so I think he'll be right to go."