Midfield general willing to take a hit in the hip pocket.
Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge allayed the fear of fans that he would leave Waverlyafter this AFL season, after his name was just one of seven listed by the club as free agents at the end of the year.
Much of the pre-season talk around the Hawks’ free-agents has centered around key forward Lance Franklin and his decision to put off contract talks for the rest of the season.
However, the signature of Hodge is just as prized for Hawthorn if they are to keep their premiership window open so they can go one step better than their loss to the Sydney Swans in 2012.
With the season just days away Hodge remains non-plussed by the talk saying he just keen to get the year underway.
“They leave all the old boys until last,” Hodge told AFL.com.au
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it.
“First of all I’ll get back on the park, and then we’ll go from there.
“I’m in no urgent need to (sign); I know where I’m going to be next year, so I’m fairly comfortable at the moment.”
Despite having a resume that features a Norm Smith medal, three-time All Australian nominations and two best and fairest awards, Hodge would attract an attractive price in the free market.
However, the 28-year-old said he would not expect to attract the same level of pay as he did in his early 20’s but rubbished the reason behind a pay cut was to keep Franklin at the club.
“The club have thrown ‘Buddy’ the best offer we can give with the blokes we’ve got on our list, so it’s up to him to take his time this year, have a good think about it and see where his future wants to be,” Hodge said.
“At the moment it’s not (a distraction).
“If ‘Buddy’ can continue to do what we expect him to do, play the team game like he did on the weekend, that’s all we expect as teammates.”
The other players on the Hawks free-agent list include Max Bailey, Xavier Ellis, Brent Guerra, Sam Mitchell and Michael Osborne.
Hawthorn are currently preparing to take on a West Coast Eagles team that is carrying several injuries ahead of the first round of the season.
Hodge himself is very unlikely to take on the Eagles as he recovers from off-season surgery to repair a damaged posterior cruciate ligament.
However, he will take part in an inter-club game later this week to better gauge his fitness and to ascertain a clearer timetable for hiss full-time return.