MYSTERY surrounds the way Hawthorn interim coach Brendon Bolton will use Cyril Rioli as he makes his return from a hamstring injury today against West Coast at Aurora Stadium.
Reports emerged from Melbourne yesterday that Rioli could start his first game back since round 8 in the green vest, after assistant coach Cameron Bruce said it was "something we would weigh up".
But on his old stomping ground of Aurora Stadium yesterday, Bolton was more elusive when quizzed about whether the dynamic 24-year-old, who has a history of hamstring issues, would play more forward than midfield or even start as the substitute.
"You're one of the many people across Australia who are looking for that answer, and I'm not willing to give it," a playful Bolton said.
"But he will play across multiple lines, I would have thought."
Hawthorn also welcomed back midfielder Jordan Lewis after a week off with abductor soreness, with Bolton saying the 28-year- old would provide the second-placed Hawks with some much needed on-field leadership after the gritty win against Greater Western Sydney last week.
"Jordan Lewis played a great game against Port a few weeks ago, and we missed him last week. He's a great director out on the field and Cyril can just light up a game, so it is exciting to have him back."
Twenty-three-year-old ruckman Luke Lowden has been handed a debut and will form an inexperienced big-man combination with six-game player Jonathon Ceglar (with likely help from Jarryd Roughead) against the might of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui for the 11th-placed Eagles.
"It is a great opportunity for them to go out and compete and do what's asked of them by (ruck coach) Damian Monkhorst and see where that goes."
Veteran midfielder Brad Sewell described Lowden, who has been at the club since the 2008 national draft, as "exciting".
"Hopefully we can see something special from him," Sewell said.
"He's a great character and has been with us for six years now, so he's done his apprenticeship and is ready to play and has had some really solid performances for Box Hill throughout the year.
"He will be up against it tomorrow against two of the better ruckmen in the competition, so it will be a good initiation for him."
Utility Matt Spangher is also in and will play his third game for the year, with David Hale (corked quad), Jonathan Simpkin, Will Langford and Mitch Hallahan missing the clash against former assistant Adam Simpson and premiership Hawk Xavier Ellis.
Officials are hoping for a crowd of about 15,000 for Hawthorn's second match in Launceston for the year.
It will be the 50th home and away match in the city since 2001, with the first bounce at 1.40pm.