HAWTHORN players arrived on the Sunshine Coast yesterday to begin the annual Christmas camp they hope will help present them with the greatest gift - the 2013 flag.
For the second year running, the 2012 runners-up are using the Maroochydore Roos' home ground in Fisherman's Rd and Mooloolaba Beach for a range of skill and fitness sessions.
While the Hawks arrived among summer holiday-makers, Gold Coast-raised ruckman David Hale said their focus during the week-long stay was on laying a "good base" for the coming season.
"We'll get four good footy sessions in and some gym work, and obviously being able to use the beach and stuff for recovery as well is a bonus compared to Melbourne … it's something the boys got a lot out of last year," he said. "We think it's a good lead-in to Christmas, so it's good to come back."
Hale said he and his teammates had put behind them the disappointment of losing a thrilling grand final to Sydney.
"When you get to the big show and fall a bit short it's obviously a bit disappointing," he said.
"We can only keep getting there and giving ourselves a chance, and hopefully next year we can go one better.
"With the list we've got, we think we're in a good position ... we think we should be around the mark again."
Hale, who joined the Hawks two years ago from North Melbourne to fill a void in the ruck, says the club's latest high-profile recruit Brian Lake, from the Western Bulldogs, would be a welcome addition.
"Definitely. He brings a lot of experience and a big body that we might've lacked down back. They've played a lot of footy together our back six and I'm sure he will be able to fit in nicely," he said.
"I'm sure (fellow backmen Josh) Gibson and (Ryan) Schoenmakers will enjoy having someone else down there to take the big fellas."
The entire playing group has made the trip north, including fellow Queenslander Brendan Whitecross, who is recovering from a knee reconstruction, and skipper Luke Hodge, who recently underwent surgery on the knee that severely hampered his 2012.
"Hodgey's been doing a lot of boxing ... he's been getting pretty angry he's not getting out there," Hale said.
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