Hawks sweat on Smith’s AFL injury

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Hawks sweat on Smith’s AFL injury

Hawthorn could be without Isaac Smith’s crucial run for next weekend’s AFL qualifying final against West Coast in Perth.

Smith hurt his knee when he was tackled during the third term of Saturday’s regulation 57-point win over Carlton at the MCG.

He did not return to the field for the rest of the 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) win and will undergo scans.

The loss, coupled with Brisbane’s upset win over the Western Bulldogs earlier in the day, meant Carlton’s fourth wooden spoon since 2002.

There was immediate speculation on Saturday night that Smith would miss next weekend’s match.

The Hawks would particularly miss his pace at Domain Stadium.

“It (the tackle) rattled a knee in some way – I’m not sure (about) the severity of it,” said Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.

“We don’t think it’s too bad, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Cyril Rioli was also a late withdrawal because of illness, but Clarkson said he would play against the Eagles.

Luke Breust should also return.

Hawthorn had an away win over the Eagles in round 19 and Clarkson admitted that was heartening.

“Not too many sides go over there and win, so the fact we’ve done it in the last six weeks is pretty handy,” he said.

“They’re not absolutely invincible on that oval, (but) we’re going to have to play at our very, very best to get the job done.”

There was very little to recommend Saturday’s match, with the Hawks clearly looking ahead to the finals and the Blues limping to the end of a dreadful season.

“It was a pretty scratchy old game, wasn’t it?,” Clarkson said.

“I’m not sure if I’ve witnessed a game where there was so little atmosphere in the game itself and the crowd – it happens.”

Sam Mitchell starred for the Hawks and Carlton veteran Andrew Carrazzo impressed in his farewell match with 33 possessions.

It was also the last game for John Barker as Blues interim coach.

He narrowly missed out on winning the permanent job behind Brendon Bolton, who was watching from the stands.

“I feel really good – it was a great experience and I’m really thankful to Carlton,” Barker said.

“There aren’t too many environments where you get the amount of learnings I’ve had over the last 14 weeks.”

His young son Mac sat next to Barker for his post-game media conference.

Barker will stay at Carlton for the next couple of days, then have some family time before weighing up his future.

“My timetable now is sitting next to me,” he said of his son.

The Hawks and Blues ran through the same banner pre-game to honour the Ratten family.

Cooper Ratten died last month in a car accident.

His father Brett is an assistant coach at Hawthorn and also a Blues great.

He was in tears as the two clubs acknowledged him with the touching ceremony.

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