Suckling's knee costs him season
Matthew Suckling falls to the ground in pain after being injured during the game against Richmond on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images
Hawthorn defender Matt Suckling will miss a year of football after blowing out his knee in the NAB Cup match against Richmond on Saturday.
Scans on Sunday confirmed the 24-year-old had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
He is expected to have a traditional knee reconstruction, rather than LARS surgery, but his method of treatment will be confirmed in the next few days.
Sydney is expecting to lose a piece of its premiership-winning defence to a season-ending knee injury.
Alex Johnson will have scans on Monday to reveal the full extent of the damage from an incident during Saturday's NAB Cup win against Gold Coast, but the Swans are resigned to the worst-case scenario - a ruptured ACL.
Suckling grabbed for his knee after it had given way as he was evading a tackle from Richmond defender Troy Chaplin in the third quarter at Aurora Stadium.
Hawks football manager Mark Evans said: ''It's obviously a devastating thing to happen to Matt on the eve of the season, but his attitude will be to throw himself into his rehab program and come back a stronger player from this.''
Suckling spent the past two seasons on Hawthorn's half-back line, but during the NAB Cup he was pressing for a more prominent position in the midfield rotation, perhaps to fill the void left by Clinton Young, who left for Collingwood in the off-season.
Suckling statistically was Hawthorn's best rebounding defender last season.
The left-footer had had an uninterrupted pre-season up until Saturday's mishap.
That the premiership favourites are a man down before the start of the season will be a source of great frustration for coach Alastair Clarkson, who has previously called the NAB Cup a TV gimmick and a nightmare for coaches.
The Hawks are hoping to bring back key forward Lance Franklin, ruckman David Hale, midfielder Brad Sewell and small forward Luke Breust, after minor injury complaints, for the club's last pre-season hitout, against North Melbourne.
Captain Luke Hodge will not play, and Cyril Rioli is also unlikely to play against the Kangaroos.
The Hawks lost to Richmond by a point on Saturday after Tigers full-forward Jack Riewoldt nailed a goal after the siren.