15,000 crowd hopes for Hawthorn

Hawthorn player Luke Lowden signs autographs for Chloe, 7, and Archie, 5, Payne of Norwood. PIcture: Phillip Biggs

Hawthorn player Luke Lowden signs autographs for Chloe, 7, and Archie, 5, Payne of Norwood. PIcture: Phillip Biggs

HAWTHORN officials are hoping to take advantage of a bye in this weekend's NTFA fixture to help today's crowd at Aurora Stadium push beyond 15,000.

The reigning premiers, sitting second on the AFL ladder with a 7-3 record, will face the 11th placed West Coast (4-6) today, with the first ball to be bounced at 1.40pm.

There will be very little local football around Launceston today, with just one game between the two divisions of the NTFA, with the TFC Under 23 v VAFA Under 23 match in Hobart.

There will be no State League played, with Launceston and Western Storm playing tomorrow, although North Launceston will play in Hobart tomorrow.

"Sales have been really positive leading into the game and nearly all the seats have been exhausted, so we're looking at a crowd of about 14,500-15,000, and if it is a fine day we expect a lot of walk-ups on the day," Hawthorn's Tasmanian operations manager Shayne Stevenson said.

"The Eagles had a loss last week, but have got a lot of talent in their list, so we will have to be at the top of our game.

"It has played into our hands that there is a bye in the NTFA, which will allow the volunteers and the footballers themselves to come along, and we have seen we have got a boost in sales (when that bye) does happen.

"If we can get to the 15,000 mark, we'll be very happy with that result."

Stevenson said he was confident the crowd would be better than the 12,430 that witnessed the Hawks unfurl their premiership flag in round 1.

The club will again hold a Hawk Walk to the ground, starting at 12.30pm at the City Park, and the game is a fund-raiser for Give Me Five For Kids.

Today's game is the 50th home and away match in Launceston, with Hawthorn hosting 41 of them for 30 wins, with their first goal today to be their 600th at the venue.

West Coast has played six games at the ground, for a 2-4 record, with its last game being a seven-point loss in round 4, 2011.

Gates will open at 11.30am.

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