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Hawks' ambition faces tough test

MELBOURNE: Hawthorn's bid

for back-to-back premicrships be gins with a stern opening round test from last year's finalist Collingwood in the match-of-the-day at VFL Park today.

The Hawks have never won suc

cessive premierships in their 64 year history despite capturing five in the past 12 years and another VFL Cup is the sole aim of the season at Glenferrie.

Both teams are missing key play ers because of injury and suspension and Collingwood will provide a searching examination of Haw thorn's renowned depth.

At the MCG, grand finalist Mel bourne should account for Fitzroy while 1987 premier Carlton will have the edge over Footscray at its home Princes Park.

Last year's wooden spooncr St Kilda has regained Brownlow Med allist Tony Lockett after injury and his presence at full-forward should prove a telling factor for the visit of the Brisbane Bears.

Hawthorn mentor Allan Jeans re

turns to the helm after a year away from the game due to a brain he morrhage and said he was keen to start the season on a triumphant


The Hawks are without their only ruckman in Greg Dear and first gamer Lawrence Bingham has been handed the responsibility of taking on Collingwood pair David Cloke

and James Manson.

Bingham, from Hailbury College, is just 19 and the Hawks are without Dermott Brereton (back), Chris Langford (fingers) and Tony Hall (knee), robbing the side of marking


Bingham's youth will concede the

ccntre advantage to Collingwood and the Magpies will rely on centre man Peter Daicos and rover Colin Alexander to provide the opportun


Alexander, from Tasmania, has shown some outstanding pre-season form and he will shoulder extra re

sponsibility in his first game due to some undisciplined pre-season ef forts from his more senior team


Captain Tony Shaw, ruck-rover Darren Millane, ruckman Damien Monkhurst and recruits Craig Kelly (SA) and Mark Bayliss (WA) are all serving suspensions and their ab sence may provide the break Haw thorn needs to win.

Their former teammate Danny Seow will make his debut for Mel bourne against Fitzroy along with John Ahem and Stephen Tingay and Scow said he relished the pro spect of a return to the VFL.

Seow, 22 tomorrow, was unable to continue his career with the Mag pies in mid-1987 after suffering se vere concussion but he said he had decided to resurrect his career after a stint in the United States playing college football.

Ahern and Tingay, both original ly from Shepparton, were part of Melbourne's triumphant night pre miership scries and Ahern will add both pace and height from his wing.

Coach John Northey said Ahern had adjusted well from playing country football to senior level and should do well in his debut.

Fitzroy has a new coach in Rod Austin and was able to call on full back Gary Pert for this game after the defender recovered ahead of schedule from a knee reconstruc tion.

Disgruntled West Coast rover Wally Matcra will make his debut for the Lions as a rover from the forward pocket but he lacks support around the ground and Melbourne will have the advantage that should lead the Demons to victory.

Carlton's bevy of small men will be the key to a first-up win over Footscray, especially with Foots cray missing state rover Brian Roy


Royal is out with a bruised thigh and his absence leaves only Tony McGuinness to match up against the likes of Craig Bradley, Wayne Johnston, Adrian Gleeson and Da vid Glascott.

At Moorabbin, century full-for ward Lockett is the key to the Saints

side while the Bears need Warwick r Capper to regain the kind of form that brought him 100 goals with the Sydney Swans in 1987.

□ AINSLIE ADAPTED to the wet conditions much better than Queanbeyan to score a comfortable win in the opening match of the ACT Australian Football League's Southern Cross Club pre-season competition at Football Park, Phil lip, last night. '

After trailing for the first two quarters, Ainslie moved into top gear to over-run Queanbeyan in the second half to record an 8.7 (55) to 3.7 (25) victory.

Most of the match was played in atrocious conditions, with rain making handling very difficult, but Ainslie controlled the ball with much more assurance than its oppo nent and deserved the win.

In the earlier match, Queanbeyan was far too good for Ainslie in win ning the under-19s 13.16 (94) to 2.5 (17).

Digitisation generously supported by
Mr Ryan Stokes
Digitisation generously supported by
Mr Ryan Stokes