Hawthorn needs to make some tough decisions at the selection table this week prior to its clash against fellow struggler Gold Coast Suns, if it wants to revive its 2017 flag prospects. Central to this needs to be the dropping of club legend Josh Gibson, a player who was a cornerstone of the club’s success. His unparalleled spoiling efforts and brilliance in the zone off role created for him used to offer protection to Hawthorn’s defence and would ignite the team’s lethal defensive rebound. The Melbourne clash in 2016 was the watershed moment in his demise when he was heavily tagged and not afforded the role as the loose man in defence. Gibson stood out with his inability to adapt to these new tactics and has now become very exploitable as he’s reverted to a traditional 2nd key back role in 2017. The effect on the team’s prospects has been profound, depriving Clarko of a key part of his structure and associated game plan with the 2/4 win/loss end to 2016 combined with a 0/2 start to 2017 pulling no punches. With hindsight it is clear that Gibson should have retired at the end of 2016 and only stubbornness now would see him remain in the team for this week’s clash against the Suns. The selection panel’s focus needs to be on a more traditional key back like Kaiden Brand to replace Gibson. Brand, in particular, offers more pace and therefore heightens our rebound chances. My Team B: Stratton, Frawley, Burgoyne HB: Burton, Brand, Rioli C: Smith, Mitchell, Miles HF:Gunston, Vickery, Breust F: Poppy, Roughead, Hodge R: McEvoy, Shiels, O'Meara Int: Langford, Henderson, Howe, Stewart In: Howe, Brand Out: Gibson, Birchall (injured) Kaiden Brand and Daniel Howe's inclusions are the main focus of this line up with Brand offering structure playing in the 2nd key back role and Howe offering class and composure in a utility role. I have persisted with Ricky Henderson, viewing him as a Simon Beaumont type utility, adding value to the line up with his versatility. I tossed up over including Billy Hartung, but question his ability at AFL level and would rather a chance be given to Miles on the wing as I believe he is a far better decision maker and would add the toughness that Hartung lacks. The most controversial choice in my 22, which I am certain will outrage most of the Hawk faithful, is moving Cyril Rioli to a rebounding role off half-back. On face value the move is insane, depriving the forward line of a consistent 40+ goal kicker and arguably the best defensive forward in the game. I have made this controversial decision based on the adage, 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.' The standout of our struggles in 2017 has been the lack of quick and skilful defensive rebound and associated outside run to facilitate our potentially lethal attack. In its absence our attack resembles a Ferrari without fuel, with the slow and sullied entry allowing impregnable defensive zones to set up to counter it and then kill us on the rebound. I have long thought Rioli could be a small rebounding defender, akin to the role played by Gavin Wanganeen; similarly hard to beat in one on one duels and lethal in possession on the rebound with his pace and evasive skills. Rioli trialled this role with great success in the 2014 preseason and now needs to be unleashed off half back. Let’s hope the Hawks can come away with a crucial win this week at Metricon Stadium.