Hale sets new goals

DAVID Hale marked his contract extension with an ominous warning for his fellow AFL ruckmen.

As it was announced that he had re-signed until the end of 2015 with the Hawks, the 29-year-old predicted big things for his new-look ruck combination with ex-Saint Ben McEvoy.

``The ability of ruckmen to stay on the ground and kick goals is vital in AFL footy these days and that is something we will both have to work on,'' Hale told  The Examiner .

``Hopefully we can cause a bit of damage on the scoreboard and cause a few headaches for the opposition.''

Hale kicked 20 goals in 24 games last year, including priceless doubles in both the qualifying and preliminary finals, while McEvoy managed just six despite being one of only three ever-present Saints.

They will have their first home and away hitout together when the reigning premier hosts Brisbane at Launceston's Aurora Stadium on Saturday and Hale has high hopes for his new partner in crime.

``He's only 24, so he's got a lot of footy left in him,'' Hale said.

``He's got a very big tank, so could do a fair bit of the ruck work, but if he could come back to 70-75 per cent of the ruck work and go forward, take a few good grabs and kick some goals for us [that] will be crucial.

``You have to try to give your midfielders first use, that's a real key as a ruckman, but winning the ball around the ground and pushing forward to kick goals is a key also.''

Hale, who has played 197 games for the Hawks and North Melbourne, said there had been a focus following the grand final win over Fremantle to ensure that they start this season in the best possible fashion.

``The hunger is still there and the young guys coming through are pushing the old guys to make sure everyone is playing well.

``Individually, everyone wants to play in a successful side and last year's experience makes you want to feel it again and again.

``That hunger doesn't diminish, although complacency can slip in sometimes, but with the experience we have in this team, that won't be an issue for us.''

Hale, who has born in Hobart before his family relocated to Queensland when he was about six months old, was confident the Hawthorn ``brand of footy'' would get the job done, while he was excited about the potential personal match-up against Matthew Leuenberger and Trent West.

``Even if one or two of our players have an off-day, we think we've got the depth which would see someone else step up.''

He said it was an easy decision to stay at the Hawks, as he believed the club could have more success in the near future.

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