No decision on Hawks veterans: Clarkson

Alastair Clarkson is mindful of losing too much experience at the Hawks as they work their roster.
Alastair Clarkson is mindful of losing too much experience at the Hawks as they work their roster.

Hawthorn premiership heroes Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo will play their final AFL games on Sunday, but the careers of three other Hawks veterans remain in limbo.

Captain Stratton and small forward Puopolo will be farewelled when the Hawks finish off a disappointing season against Gold Coast at the Adelaide Oval.

Shaun Burgoyne, who will turn 38 in October, has been locked in for one more season in 2021, but Isaac Smith, James Frawley and Ricky Henderson are yet to secure deals.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the calls on Burgoyne, Stratton and Puopolo were announced because both club and players had already agreed on the decisions.

"We've had discussions with those others guys (Smith, Frawley and Henderson)," Clarkson said.

"There are even guys like Luke Breust and Jack Gunston, who have been long-term servants of our club, where we start to have those discussions.

"They're (Breust and Gunston) a long way from finishing their careers but we start to have those discussions with them about what it looks like in the latter stages of their careers.

"There's been finality with those discussions (with Smith, Frawley and Henderson).

"Right at this point in time we want to be mindful of how many more senior guys all go out of the club in one hit."

Stratton and Frawley are the Hawks' only inclusions for the round-18 game, replacing axed pair Daniel Howe and Finn Maginness.

Even if Hawthorn improve their 4-12 record with a victory over the Suns, they will still finish in their worst ladder-position since Clarkson became coach in 2005.

A thumping win against the Suns and Sydney losing to Geelong could see the Hawks leapfrog the Swans into 15th on the ladder.

Not since Peter Schwab was sacked mid-season in 2004 have Hawthorn finished as low as 15th.

Although they will avoid the wooden spoon, the Hawks haven't finished last since 1965 when the competition contained only 12 teams.

The Suns will be without Seam Lemmens (corked thigh) and Nick Holman (fractured finger), with the exciting Ben Ainsworth available after missing Monday night's loss to Collingwood due to illness.

Mature-aged recruit Jy Farrar will become Gold Coast's seventh debutant of the season.

The 23-year-old forward from Halls Creek, in far north Western Australia, was taken at pick 60 in last year's national draft.

Australian Associated Press