Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson leaves the field after talking to players at half-time. Photo: Getty Images
HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson was unfazed by his team's early exit from the NAB Cup after first-up losses to both Gold Coast and Brisbane, despite concerns that Lance Franklin may be subject to scrutiny after making head-high contact with the Suns' Matt Shaw, and a possible knee injury to lively forward Paul Puopolo.
Clarkson claimed not to have seen the incident between Shaw and Franklin, which looked innocuous enough but might yet attract attention from the match review panel.
"We get game time for our players, that's the most critical thing," he said. "We were pretty competitive for three quarters and then I think the heat drained out of us a bit in the last quarter. Brisbane ran over the top of us a bit. All of our players will benefit from getting some game time."
"We'll get a few more guys an opportunity next week. We'll get another five or six players back into our side that didn't play tonight and move into NAB 3 and get ourselves ready for more conditioning."
Franklin looked rusty for both games, but Clarkson pointed out that the conditions were far from suited to big players. "He competed hard. He was a bit scratchy with the ball from time to time. In hindsight we should have bought a mosquito fleet up here. it wasn't a game conducive to tall players. Both games were error ridden. Slippery handball type of errors and marks that were dropped that AFL footballers don't drop. It was nearly like wet weather footy tonight."
Star midfielders Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell did not play due to study commitments but will both play next week.