HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson hopes the experience of veteran Shaun Burgoyne will provide stability to the struggling Hawks for Saturday's clash with Gold Coast at the SCG.
The 38-year-old has been sidelined for the past four weeks with an ankle injury but barring any mishaps at training on Friday will play his 396th AFL match against the Suns.
With the second-last Hawks losing Kyle Hartigan to suspension and Jaeger O'Meara to concussion, and on a four-game winless run, Burgoyne's return will be invaluable to Clarkson.
The Hawks have also recalled Liam Shiels after he missed last weekend's defeat to Carlton and Clarkson said both players would add composure to his line-up.
"We've missed both those guys ... if they're able to return they'll just give us a little bit of stability around our structures," Clarkson said.
"Shiels is a little the same as Burgoyne, he needs to train again this afternoon. We'll see how he goes but we're expecting both those guys to play."
Victoria's COVID lockdown left the Hawks in limbo on Thursday as the venue for Saturday's game was moved from Darwin to Sydney, with Clarkson saying shifting the match to Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium had been an option at one stage before the SCG was locked in.
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Despite a disrupted preparation, Clarkson said the plan was for his team to play the match and then return to Melbourne ahead of next weekend's bye.
"It's really an anywhere, anytime, type of attitude the clubs have to take in these circumstances," Clarkson said.
"We're fortunate we still get to play but we're also very mindful that the wider community, especially around Melbourne at the moment, are in lockdown and going to be that way for the best part of the next week and who knows where it goes from there?
"We'll play this game, hopefully return to Melbourne and see where it goes from there."
The Suns have made two changes from the team that lost to Geelong last weekend with Jy Farrar returning from injury and Malcolm Rosas Jnr on the interchange bench.
Nick Holman is also available after being cleared of a rough conduct charge earlier in the week.