AFL

Hawthorn name strong NAB Challenge squad

Up to 13 of Hawthorn's 2015 AFL premiership side will feature in the NAB Challenge opener against Carlton on Thursday night.

Grant Birchall will skipper the Hawks on Thursday night.
Grant Birchall will skipper the Hawks on Thursday night. Photo: Graham Denholm

The three-time reigning premiers play last year's wooden spooners in Launceston to begin the 2016 NAB Challenge.

Norm Smith medallist Cyril Rioli will be spared the trip, as will James Frawley, Shaun Burgoyne and Jack Gunston.

Hawthorn have also rejigged their leadership roles for the match.

Assistant coach Adam Yze will fill Alastair Clarkson's match-day coaching role, while Luke Hodge will take direction from Tasmanian half-back Grant Birchall, handed the captaincy for the night.

New ruck recruit Jake Fitzpatrick, who was delisted by Melbourne but picked up by the Hawks, was named in a 29-man squad and while Will Langford wasn't, his teenage brother Lachlan was.

The 19-year-old son of club champion Chris Langford has been named alongside more than a dozen next-gen Hawks for the pre-season tune-up.

Football boss Chris Fagan said the squad was a good balance of youth and experience.

"We're keen to put a number of our younger guys in around a good number of our premiership players," he told Hawthorn's website.

"Part of our thinking is that the players start to get enough minutes of game time into their legs ahead of round one.

"The ability to out-stay the opposition in the first home-and-away game is really important."

Carlton have listed No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering in their extended squad to travel south.

The Blues will leave Patrick Cripps and Andrew Walker in Melbourne but have pencilled in Dale Thomas and Nick Graham to make returns from injury.

Both teams will remove three players from their squads on match day, with both sides allowed eight players on the bench.

AAP