Heel issues leaves Hawthorn defender in doubt for AFL bushfire relief state of origin match


The Hawks were stretched in defence against the Saints after Ben McEvoy – in his new guise as a tall backman – hobbled off the ground with a corked thigh in the early minutes of the match.

Clarkson said the Hawks would treat the big man’s injury conservatively.

A heel injury has put James Sicily in doubt for the state of origin game.Credit:Getty Images

“It bled pretty heavily. He might miss a week. We won’t take any risks,” he said.

Meanwhile Clarkson said small forward Darren Minchington remained in the hunt for the final spot on the Hawks’ list but would not publicly commit to taking the former Saint via the supplemental selection period. Hawthorn have until mid-March to decide whether they want to hand a lifeline to the goalsneak who was delisted by the Hawks at the end of last season.

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Impressed with his side’s first-up effort, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said the Saints were set for some selection headaches heading into round one.

Jarryn Geary, Dylan Roberton, Jimmy Webster, Zak Jones and Dan Hannebery all missed Thursday night’s meeting with the Hawks but Ratten said the quintet would all be available to take on Hawthorn in Morwell next Friday, while Matt Parker is set to play a half in that game after recovering well from ankle surgery.

“We’ve got some players in pretty good form and it’s going to be a very hard task to pick the round one team,” Ratten said.

The Saints booted 17 goals on Thursday night after being backed by Ratten to play free-flowing and instinctive football, with Tim Membrey and Jack Lonie kicking four goals each.

“The pleasing part was they were giving it off to each other in a better spot,” Ratten said.

“If Tim doesn’t get any and someone else gets three or four, that’s great but to kick 111 points today was pleasing as well.

Hawthorn's Tom Scully tackles St Kilda's Jack Sinclair in their first pre-season match of 2020.

Hawthorn’s Tom Scully tackles St Kilda’s Jack Sinclair in their first pre-season match of 2020.Credit:AAP

“It just shows that some of the things we’ve been practicing are starting to come out.

“Everyone chipped in, [Rowan] Marshall got a couple, the load was spread across the board.

“Even to have [Jonathon] Marsh come down there in the last quarter and have his speed and strength, [Max] King was close to getting three goals before half-time but not quite … [Dean] Kent was good as well.”

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