Hawks cleared for grand final clash
HAWTHORN forward Jarryd Roughead and defender Grant Birchall breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after the match review panel cleared the way for the pair to play in Saturday's grand final against Fremantle.
Roughead, this year's Coleman medallist, was charged with rough conduct for his behind-the-play bump on Geelong's Cameron Guthrie in Friday night's preliminary final.
The offence carries a one-match penalty, however an early guilty plea will allow him to line up at the MCG on Saturday.
The panel also reviewed Birchall's bump on Cats midfielder Matthew Stokes, but found the hit, which left Stokes winded and needing medical assistance, was "solely to the body" and "involved no forceful contact".
Meanwhile Hawks utility Shaun Burgoyne said the team would discuss how to combat Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley who has taken the art of shutting down the opposition's star players to another level during the finals series.
After starting on Geelong skipper Joel Selwood in the qualifying final, Crowley put the clamps on Geelong star Steve Johnson after quarter-time, before keeping Swans co-captain Kieren Jack to just 11 possessions in Saturday's preliminary final.
Burgoyne acknowledged the 'human limpet' would most likely go to Hawthorn playmaker Sam Mitchell in the grand final, but added the former skipper could expect plenty of support from teammates.
"Mitch has been tagged probably his entire career. It's nothing new to him; he knows exactly what to do and what to expect," Burgoyne said.
"When we've had players tagged this year, as a team we've tried to help out that player - we'll do exactly the same this week."
Burgoyne admitted Fremantle's pressure around the ball, and tackling in its own forward line, had been a significant factor in the win against Sydney, but said his teammates had the ability to work through that.
"We've got some fantastic runners in our team who can break open those lines and break through that bubble," he said.
"We've also got some outstanding tackling players, and players who put on defensive pressure themselves to put the pressure back on Freo when they have the ball.'