A TORRID injury toll won't dampen Hawthorn's belief that it can upset Port Adelaide, Hawks ruckman David Hale says.

A spate of medium-to-long term injuries to key players means the reigning premiers will have the rare experience of starting as underdogs in the top-of-the-table clash at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

"I don't think there's too many games we've gone in not as favourite for the last couple of years so it's going to be a challenge and something we're looking forward to," Hale said on Monday.

"I'm sure 'Clarko' (coach Alastair Clarkson) and the coaches will have us ready to go."

Hawthorn's depth will be tested with Josh Gibson (pectoral), Cyril Rioli (hamstring) and Jarryd Roughead (suspended) all forced from the side that lost to the Sydney Swans by 19 points in round eight.

That trio joins veterans Sam Mitchell (hamstring) and Brian Lake (calf) on the sidelines, but the second-placed Hawks remain upbeat.

"Obviously being 6-2 we've put ourselves in a good position to start the year," Hale said.

"Our Box Hill team's on top of the ladder and have shown good form all year.

"A lot of the guys that are playing good footy there can come in and fill any role that we need.

"We've got a lot of depth and hopefully in the next few weeks a lot of those players get a chance to show what they can do, so we definitely go in confident."

The Power is undefeated in five games at 'the Portress' and Hale said the Hawks need a fast start to silence the sell-out crowd. 

Skipper Luke Hodge is set to return for the match after he was a late withdrawal in Sydney, while Liam Shiels, Matt Spangher and veteran Brad Sewell could come into contention after injury lay-offs.

Sewell made a strong return from a hamstring strain in Box Hill's VFL win over Richmond on Saturday.

"It's encouraging for him to get that game under his belt and we've lost a couple of inside mids so I'm sure he'll put his name up for selection," Hale said.

"I think from all reports his training's been pretty good and to get through the full game on the weekend is encouraging.

"(Hopefully) he pulls up well and can put his name up because he's obviously a very valuable player when he's playing well."