HAWTHORN spearhead Buddy Franklin’s long-awaited return from injury was last night confirmed when the Hawks finalised their team for tomorrow’s clash with Gold Coast at the MCG.
Nanjing Night Net

Franklin returns after five weeks, having injured a hamstring in the Hawks’ percentage-boosting 162-point victory over Greater Western Sydney in round 15.

Football manager Mark Evans said he expected Franklin, 25, to take to the field from the opening bounce.

”He’s had two solid weeks of consistent training,” Evans said. ”You’d expect that he would be right to go from the start of the game, remembering that in the game where he came off and felt tight he played half a game then and kicked four goals in the first half, so you’d expect Buddy to get back into things fairly quickly.

”We all were expecting him to play [last week],” Evans said. ”But he said he didn’t feel like he was ready to go, so we took that into account and respected that.

”But he’s participated and done everything this week, so he’s ready to go.”

Also returning to join Franklin up forward is Jarryd Roughead, who missed last week’s 72-point defeat of Port Adelaide with an ankle concern.

Roughead, who ruptured his Achilles last year, has had a heavy load this season, playing all but one game since returning to the side. ”He’s had a really solid year and quite a big load playing forward and in the ruck, so with that minor ankle last week it’s not too bad for him to rest and recover properly and allow the ankle to settle down,” Evans said.

Cyril Rioli is out of the side with bone bruising on his shoulder, while defender Josh Gibson will also miss the game after injuring his ankle last week. Ruckman Max Bailey was dropped.

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