BRIAN Lake is confident he will be able to stand up to whatever 2014 has left to throw at him, despite having spent more time off the field than on it this season.
Last year's Norm Smith medallist has managed just three games thanks to his four-match grand final suspension for striking Michael Walters and a calf injury after round 8.
It's an injury that required surgery to eliminate the side effects of a cyst at the back of his knee, which had been contributing to the 32-year-old's calf issues.
"It was a different injury that I had, as it just wasn't a normal calf strain," the full- back told The Examiner yesterday.
"It is related to an issue that I had with my knee from a few years ago.
"The medical staff know how hard I can push it and we are confident that we know how to treat it and I don't feel that it is an ongoing problem.
"We feel we are on top of it now and I will be fine for the rest of the year and for years to come."
Lake played his first game back against St Kilda in the Hawks' 29-point round-8 win over Collingwood.
."I pulled up really well. There were those knocks and bruises that you can't train for, such as when you hit the ground harder than you do at training, so the back and shoulders are a little tight, but the legs and the calf have pulled up really well.
"It is so different training than going out and playing games so for me it was about building match fitness.
"It wasn't my best form, but if I can keep plugging away the match fitness will come in the next couple of weeks."
Lake is looking forward to matching up against Tom Lynch or Steven May at Aurora Stadium on Saturday in a Gold Coast side coming off the best win in its history over Geelong.
"(Ruckman) Zac Smith provides them with some serious height down there, but they have got some serious running players who like to get up the ground then push back to goal," Lake said.
"They are a little bit more unpredictable than some other sides, but we think we have an advantage over them playing in Tassie.
"For us defenders we have a big job on their forwards, but the real battle is going to be in the midfield with the contested football and that's where I think the game is going to be won and lost."