Hawks brace for in-form Dockers unicorn Luke Jackson

Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has praised Luke Jackson's ability to become an "extra midfielder" for Fremantle, and says Ned Reeves faces a big task to quell the Dockers star.

Jackson has shone as Fremantle's lead ruckman since Sean Darcy went down with an ankle injury six weeks ago.

Not only has Jackson competed well in the ruck, but his follow-up work at ground level has proven crucial.

His presence has given Fremantle what is effectively an extra big-bodied midfielder once the ball hits the ground.

Jackson's all-round skill set has earned him the moniker of being a football 'unicorn'.

Reeves, who stands at 210cm, isn't as agile as the 199cm Jackson, but will be able to use his height to his advantage in the ruck battle.

The 24-year-old tallied 43 hitouts, 10 disposals and seven tackles against Western Bulldogs big man Tim English a fortnight ago.

Last week against star Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn, Reeves held his own on the way to 13 disposals, 26 hitouts and three clearances.

Mitchell has been happy with the development of Reeves, and he's looking forward to the ruckman's battle with Jackson at the MCG on Saturday.

"I think he (Reeves) has held his own against English and Gawn, two fantastic players," Mitchell said.

"Jackson, his last five or six weeks have been outstanding.

"I think everyone who watched him since even before the draft thought that this would be the player he would become.

"He has really been able to be an extra midfielder for them, it's a different skill set.

"With English and Gawn, they're both 208cm plus, whereas Jackson is a little bit smaller, but more mobile and covers an enormous amount of ground.

"It's a different challenge, one that Ned will have some advantages in.

"But it's going to be a challenge for the rest of the team as well to be able to cover for him at different stages."

Fremantle will be without Jaeger O'Meara (calf), but Michael Walters is a big inclusion.

Hawthorn have been boosted by the return of star midfielder Jai Newcombe, but Mitch Lewis was unable to recover from a foot injury.

Saturday's match will see brothers Caleb and Jai Serong face off against each other for the first time in the AFL.

Caleb has become a star at the Dockers, while Jai has only recently returned to playing duties after being diagnosed with pericarditis earlier this season.