Hawthorn -v- West Coast

Midfield focus: Hawthorn assistant coach and former Essendon and Port hardman Damien Hardwick … predicting today’s midfield battle will be vital to the outcome of the match. (1/2)The ladder leaders were keen to put behind them a torrid week which threatened to overshadow their impressive start to the season.
Nanjing Night Net

A storm on Sunday caused a power failure at the club and on Wednesday captain Ben Cousins and forward Michael Gardiner were caught up in a police investigation into a nightclub shooting.

“It has not been the best week but it’s nice to be here where we can just focus on the footy,” said communications manager Gary Stocks.

Gardiner will miss today’s game with a knee injury but the skipper was doing his best to be one of the crowd at yesterday’s training session.

“Ben’s been fine,” said assistant coach Peter Sumich. “He’s a pro. We would not think that will affect him. He’ll play a role (in the game) and hopefully a pretty big one.”

The Eagles’ record goal-scorer said the team enjoys playing on a ground with similar dimensions to Subiaco Oval.

“We prefer playing on a ground like this,” he said. “It’s in terrific condition and the weather looks like it’s going to be fine.”

The Hawks reacquainted themselves to their second home in the setting sun and assistant coach Damien Hardwick said the players look forward to fixtures at Aurora Stadium.

“They call it home and we’ve won five out of six here,” he said. “We’ve also got a good contingent of fans down here.”

Hardwick predicted today’s game would be won in the midfield.

“They’ve got a good forward line and a steady back but the top midfield line in the competition. If we can come out on top in that we’ve got a good chance of winning the game.”

The former Port Adelaide premiership player expected Cousins to receive some flak about his newsworthy week.

“I’m sure he’ll cop a bit. The media has built it up a bit but from a footballing point of view it counts for nothing.

“At the end of the day they are six-zip and it’s only one player. The other players do not really care.”

Sumich added: “If Ben gets sledged so be it. They are big enough to handle that sort of stuff. He’ll just get on with the game.

“It cannot stop you winning the footy, taking a mark or kicking a goal and that’s what we’re focused on.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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