Hawthorn could regain two premiership defenders if they get past Melbourne in Friday night’s semi-final.
The Hawks said that Grant Birchall was an outside chance to play with Box Hill Hawks in Sunday’s VFL preliminary final, while Ben Stratton could be available to return from a hamstring injury next week.
Birchall, who has not played since round 15 last year due to chronic knee problems, trained strongly with the Hawks on Tuesday morning.
“We need to see how he pulls up, he’ll train again Thursday, and he’s an outside chance to play football this weekend," said Hawthorn high-performance director Andrew Russell.
Birchall had hoped to return to football last week, but suffered a minor adductor strain. “As we know he’s had a few issues adapting to the intensity of skill after missing so much time,” Russell said.
Birchall injured his knee in round 7 2017, returned for rounds 14 and 15 and then had further surgery that has kept him sidelined this season.
Russell said Stratton had sustained a "low-grade'' hamstring strain against Richmond last week and was an outside chance to be available should the Hawks make it through to a preliminary final.
“He definitely won’t play this week, and he’ll be an assess if we get through this week for the following [game],” Russell said.
Birchall and Jarryd Roughead are the only members of the Hawks' 2008 premiership team who are still at the club. He has played in four premierships. Stratton played in the 2013-15 hat-trick of flags.
Warwick Green is a Sports production journalist and writer for The Age.