HAWTHORN'S Grand Final selection intrigue is set to continue until final teams are lodged after coach Alastair Clarkson refused to rule out making a late change ahead of his side's shot at a history-making premiership three-peat against West Coast.
Speedy wingman Billy Hartung was the unlucky Hawk who suffered selection heartbreak after making way for returning spearhead Jack Gunston, when many thought swingman Ryan Schoenmakers might be on the chopping block.
Hartung played 20 games this season, including the past two finals triumphs as the starting sub, and his run on the wider expanses of the MCG could have been a crucial factor on a day when the mercury is expected to hit 28 degrees.
But Clarkson said the Hawks wanted to stick with their preferred tall forward structure with Schoenmakers playing alongside stars Gunston and Jarryd Roughead.
"We felt like it was important to retain the structure of our side and not respond to try to change our side just because we think it's going to be hot," he said.
"You just dig a bit deeper and prepare well in terms of your hydration. Both teams have got to put up with it and it's just a matter of willpower really, in terms of pushing through it.
"We've played in these sort of conditions on Grand Final day before against a formidable opponent like we've got again tomorrow and we've been able to get the job done."
Asked if there was a chance of a late change, Clarkson replied: "We'll have to wait and see."
If Schoenmakers holds his spot, the 24-year-old will have a shot at redemption after playing in the losing 2012 decider and missing out on the past two flag triumphs.
"We feel like over the course of the year he's played that role (in attack) reasonably consistently for us," Clarkson said.
"We liked the work he did in last week's game particularly against Fremantle and thought for the structure of our side and the contribution he can make and the role he can play, he's a good contributor to our side."
Leading goalkicker Gunston declared he was "100 per cent" after recovering from an ankle injury, while skipper Luke Hodge said he was fine after a light week on the training track.
Hodge suffered "a jolt to the back" when he landed heavily from a marking contest in the preliminary final.
"I've pulled up fine. Everyone has a different routine post-games and mine was a bit low-key early in the week, but our plan was to train Thursday and be fine for Saturday, so there's no issue at all," Hodge said.
"You've got to go into Grand Finals with fully fit players, you can't be looking after anyone. That's what we've got.
"Both teams are going to feel (the heat), it doesn't really matter, but the contest is going to be hot no matter what the weather says."
Hawthorn and West Coast have split wins from their two clashes this year, with the Eagles taking the preferred route to the season-decider after clinching a 32-point qualifying final triumph over Clarkson's side.
"We got a fair wake-up call that this opponent that we're playing tomorrow is a serious, serious competitor for the silverware this year, so we know we need to bring our best," Clarkson said.
"The most stark and easiest manner of summing up the qualifying final loss is the realisation that if we don't play somewhere near our best footy, we're going to be bridesmaids tomorrow.
"So we need to be real fierce in the contest and, at different stages, that wasn't the case when we played them two or three weeks ago."
The Hawks will be chasing history on Saturday, with the chance to become only the fifth club to secure a premiership three-peat.
However, Clarkson said the Hawks have not drawn on the fact they will be hailed as one of the AFL's greatest sides for motivation.
"We try to address the elephant in the room as best we can when things arise, we're not unrealistic enough to know that players read and feel what's going on in the press, so we addressed that about four or five weeks ago," he said.
"But the harsh reality is we got smacked right in the gob in the first final and anything that happens in terms of the history of this particular era or whatever means nothing unless you focus on the here and now and what's important.
"That here and now is this West Coast opposition who have taken all before them over the course of the year and it's going to be a cracking Grand Final."