Hawks’ Smith still a chance for finals

Injured wingman Isaac Smith is still a chance to line up for Hawthorn in Friday night’s AFL qualifying against West Coast, although coach Alastair Clarkson says he won’t take any risks with him.

Smith suffered medial ligament damage in the Hawks’ final round win over Carlton on Saturday, making his appearance for the defending champions in Perth unlikely.

But Clarkson refused to rule the speedster out on Monday.

“We still have hope. The medial ligament damage is on the lighter side we’re happy to say,” Clarkson said.

“Whether that means he misses a week or two or not will be determined by the way he pulls up today and progresses through his rehab over the next 24 hours.

“If he can respond reasonably quickly to the treatment than we give him a chance to play but we won’t be taking risks.”

Billy Hartung is Smith’s obvious replacement but Clarkson said he was unsure if he would go “like for like” and it would depend on how they matched up against the Eagles.

Skipper Luke Hodge was again forced to defend himself after being caught drink-driving last Thursday night.

Hodge, who was already suspended for two games for an on-field incident, escaped a ban from the club on disciplinary grounds.

He said he wanted to put the incident behind him and focus on the final.

“It was a disappointing and embarrassing few days but all I’ve focused on over the last few days is Friday night,” Hodge said.

Clarkson said Hodge had been “publicly shamed” for his drink-driving.

“I can’t think of anyone for blowing 0.68 has been publicly shamed as much as this bloke,” Clarkson said.

“We’ve got to find the balance because the balance is all around Hodgey rather than the game this Friday night.

“There will be some who disagree with the way we’ve handled it but we’re the ones in the best position to make judgments on what’s the most appropriate way of handling it and we’ve done that.”

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