Ben Stratton’s AFL season could be over after the top Hawthorn defender suffered a hamstring injury in the qualifying final loss to Richmond.
The Hawks said on Friday that Stratton suffered a low-grade hamstring strain, ruling him out of next week’s semi-final against Melbourne or Geelong.
“Ben won’t take part in our match next week and will be a test beyond that, depending on how our finals campaign progresses,” fitness boss Andrew Russell told the club website.
Stratton was hurt in the third term on Thursday night at the MCG and he sat out the rest of the game with ice on his right hamstring.
He was unlucky not to make the All-n squad and his absence is a major blow to the Hawks.
It will be the first game he misses this season.
Fellow defender Blake Hardwick also hurt his hip, but was able to return to the match.
Tall utility Ryan Schoenmakers could be back in the side next week after he was a late withdrawal with an Achilles problem.
Clarkson rubbished pre-match speculation that his coaching could prove the difference on Thursday night, calling AFL pundits a pack of sheep.
The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach said Richmond’s system was too strong as the Tigers kicked clear in the second half for a 31-point win.
While Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said Clarkson gave the Tigers coaches some worries, the Hawks coach said system and not tactics were all-important in finals.
“I don’t mean to be too unflattering, but you guys are like a bunch of sheep,’ Clarkson said in his post-game media conference.
“Someone brings up the fact that Clarkson is going to tactically have an impact on this game – you haven’t watched the way I’ve coached for 14 years.
“We’re a system-based … side and that’s why Richmond are so strong at the moment.
“They’re system-based – every side that’s won premierships is system-based, none of it tactics.”
Clarkson was pleased with his team’s effort, but rued their lost opportunities.
He noted while the Hawks had 12 more possessions, but lost the inside 50s by a whopping 67 to 37.
“In games like that, you need to take your chances,” he said.
“But really, the game was won or loss in the intent, in terms of them being prepared to take the ground more than we were.”