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Alastair Clarkson says Luke Hodge is now just another player at a rival club

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HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson labelled Luke Hodge a “faceless man” before his triple-premiership captain fronts up for Brisbane against the Hawks on Sunday, and the new Lion expected as much.

Hodge is fifth on Hawthorn’s all-time games list with 305, won two best and fairests and two Norm Smith medals paying for Clarkson and is firmly entrenched as a legend of the brown and gold.

But Sunday’s clash at the Gabba is all business for both men, and the hard-nosed attitude of Clarkson, who has played against departed stars like Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis in recent seasons, leaves absolutely no room for any form of nostalgia.

“I don’t reckon Clarko would care too much,” Hodge said when asked about his former coach’s attitude to the meeting.

“I’ve been around him when other people have left the footy club, and his mindset is simply that he’s in a different jumper, he’s an opponent.”

Before he headed north on Saturday morning, Clarkson left no-one in any doubt how he felt about Hodge the Brisbane player, a distinction that is necessary, because they’ll share an off-field bond forever.

“As harsh as it may seem, he’s just one of 22 faceless men for us,” Clarkson said.

“He’s a very proud man and he’ll be pretty keen to play well against his old teammates and his old club and we’ve got to be doing our best to not worry about the face that’s in the jumper.”

Hodge hasn’t spoken to Clarkson recently, but caught up with some of his former teammates last week, and remains in constant contact via a social media group.

The 33-year-old, who surprised many with his off-season move to Brisbane, said the arrival of the clash had crept up on him

“That’s probably a good thing, I haven’t over-thought it,” he said.

But he already has an idea in his mind what it would be like, comparing it to playing your brother, which meant the competitive fires wouldn’t take much to be stirred.

“Everyone who has siblings, you love them to death, but you also want to beat them,” he said.


Hawthorn’s first-up record against recent star departures

v Lance Franklin
Round 8, 2014 at ANZ Stadium

Sydney 15.17 107 def Hawthorn 13.10 88

v Jordan Lewis
Round 7, 2017 at MCG

Hawthorn 14.10 94 def Melbourne 14.7 91

*Sam Mitchell missed the West Coast clash with Hawthorn in Round 5 last year thorugh injury.

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