Hawthorn have double trouble after Friday night’s upset AFL loss to Port Adelaide.
They must hope the Western Bulldogs can beat West Coast in Perth on Sunday and then they will sweat on what the match review panel decides to do about Luke Hodge.
The Hawks captain is in strife for collecting Port star Chad Wingard with a high bump as tempers flared during the third quarter at Etihad Stadium.
His hip made contact with Wingard’s head and then the Port player immediately hit the point post.
Wingard was stunned by the blow, but he kicked two vital goals shortly after.
“Just run the tape at full speed – (it’s a) hard game,” said Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.
“It’s a game at full speed.
“I don’t really want to speak about that incident, because there’s no value in it for me.
“They’ll look at it and they’ll make their determinations, but it’s a pretty tough call.”
Hodge also served a three-game suspension earlier this year for striking North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow.
The Hawks star also received support from Port coach Ken Hinkley.
“Hodgey plays hard footy – I love that – (and) Chad plays hard footy,” Hinkley said.
Hawthorn started this weekend in third place, half a game behind West Coast.
If the Eagles win on Sunday, the Hawks will probably have to go to Perth and play them in a qualifying final.
But whatever happens, a defiant Clarkson warned not to write off the two-time defending premiers.
“It’s not ideal, but there are a lot of sides at this time of year who get rolled and still go on,” he said.
“It’s not like ‘aw, gee, this is catastrophic, we’re no chance of winning the flag now’.
“That’s far from the truth.
“We weren’t anywhere near our best (on Friday night), we were shown up.
“But we’re extremely capable as a group of bouncing back and that’s what we plan to do.”
It is their second surprise loss in a month, having also gone down to Richmond in round 18.
“Sometimes a loss doesn’t do you any harm,” he said.
“We were hoping that was going to be the Richmond game three weeks ago.”
Hawthorn should have no trouble beating Brisbane and Carlton before the finals.
But Clarkson is not fussed about the opposition.
“We just want to play again, after (Friday night),” he said.
“We don’t care who it is or where it is.
“We don’t even care when it is.
“We’re pretty keen to atone for a pretty poor performance, but we’ve been here before, plenty of times.”