Shocking trip north for Hawks

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 24 Februari 2013 | 14.43

Hawthorn forward Paul Puopolo writhes in pain after landing awkwardly on his left knee. Picture: David Clark Source: Herald Sun

HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson says the Hawks have no concerns from the opening round of the NAB Cup despite a knee injury to Paul Puopolo, Lance Franklin's indifferent outing and the Hawks' twin losses to Brisbane and the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium last night.

The Hawks suffered a one-point loss to the Suns in the opening match of the night while the Lions roared past last year's grand finalists in the second match to claim a 21-point victory in steamy conditions to end Hawthorn's chances of claiming the pre-season silverware.

Puopolo crashed to the turf late in the loss to the Suns and clutched his knee, sending a scare through the Hawks' camp.

He received urgent medical attention and eventually hobbled off the field.

Picture: David Clark Source: Gold Coast Bulletin

Meanwhile, apart from one nice touch to set-up a goal for Sam Grimley in the first game, Franklin had a forgettable start to 2013.
He made high contact with Suns midfielder Matt Shaw midway through the second half and struggled to make a mark on either contest.

The impact with Shaw was relatively minimal but the incident could draw the attention of the AFL match review panel tomorrow given the crackdown on any contact with the head.

Clarkson was not stressed by anything he saw last night.

"I think he (Puopolo) is OK. He's walking around, so he'll be OK," he said.

"We get gametime for our players, that's the most critical thing.

"We were pretty competitive for three quarters and then the heat probably drained a bit out of us the last quarter.

"Brisbane ran over the top of us a bit. They had more legs ... but we'd been out there in pretty stifling conditions for three quarters prior to that.

"We gave exposure to a lot of younger players on our list tonight and they'll really benefit from that."

Clarkson claimed to have missed spotting the Franklin-Shaw incident.

"I didn't see. So I couldn't tell you," he said.

He said the humid conditions were not ideal for Franklin, who finished with five touches and no goals against the Suns.

He was pushed into the midfield against the Lions and had nine touches, two clearances and three inside-50s.

But he could not catch a cold last night, registering two marks across the two games in a generally unhappy night with his hands.

Picture: David Clark Source: Gold Coast Bulletin

He dropped a sitter of a mark deep inside Hawthorn's attacking 50 when scores were level late in the match against the Gold Coast.

"He competed hard, he was a bit scratchy with the ball from time to time. In hindsight we should have brought a mosquito fleet up here because it wasn't a game where it was conducive to tall players," Clarkson said.

"It was nearly like wet weather footy. He had a bit of a run up there (midfield). With the ball so slippery we thought if we could get the ball in his hands at least he can kick it a mile when he gets it."

The Suns got off to a bright start but could not turn their dominance into points.

Hawks forward Luke Breust kicked the first goal of the match but rising Gold Coast star Harley Bennell handed the home side a well-deserved lead with two quickfire goals.

Hawthorn took a slender one-point lead into halftime after Ryan Schoenmakers booted a goal late in the first half after outstanding build-up work from Matt Suckling.

Goals to Suns defender Jarrod Harbrow and ruckman Zac Smith brought the home side roaring back into the contest and scores were level deep inside the second half before Luke Russell registered a point after the siren.

Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett had 13 possessions while Jaeger O'Meara caught the eye with seven disposals.

The contest with Brisbane was a horribly scrappy affair.

The Hawks led 1.3 (9) to 0.3 (3) but were no match for the Daniel Rich and Brent Moloney-inspired Lions in the second half.

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