Clarkson hails AFL milestone man Lewis

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has praised Jordan Lewis for stepping up when his teammates needed him after a best-on-ground performance in his 250th AFL game.

Lewis had 42 touches and nine clearances on Saturday in the Hawks’ 48-point win over Brisbane.

It was a timely display from the veteran midfielder – not only because sidelined teammate and close friend Jarryd Roughead had made the trip north to watch his milestone game, but because Hawthorn were genuinely troubled by a gallant Lions outfit, who threatened an upset before the match blew out dramatically in the final term.

With skipper Luke Hodge (knee) injured and vice-captain Roughead about to begin treatment for a melanoma, Clarkson said Lewis filled a void for the Hawks.

“He had a slowish start to the season in reference to his standards. His last month has been pretty strong for us. We needed that,” he said.

“With Hodge out of that side, we need his presence around the middle of the ground and his leadership and, to his credit, he’s been able to contribute in that regard – enormously in the last four weeks and no more so than today.

“We hope he continues on with that sort of influence. When he is playing well, we are a better side for it.”

Clarkson attempted to play down questions over whether Roughead’s presence might have inspired the performance from Lewis.

“The Roughy stuff we just want to keep as normal as possible,” he said.

“That’ll unfold over the next few weeks in terms of the treatment he needs to get but he’s got great support from his mates.

“I don’t think any one of our players are playing for Roughy as much as they are playing for what the team needs right at that point in time.

“Obviously, you have a lot of empathy for what he is going through but we’ll get ourselves ready for Melbourne next week and look forward to that contest.”

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