Isaac Smith has sent a pre-finals shudder through Hawthorn, suffering a knee injury in their cakewalk 57-point AFL win over Carlton.
The speedster was hurt during the third term and did not return in the 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) win on Saturday at the MCG.
Carlton’s loss, coupled with the upset Brisbane win over the Western Bulldogs, meant the Blues finished bottom.
It is their fourth wooden spoon since 2002.
The immediate speculation was that Smith had hurt a medial ligament in his left knee.
He is in doubt for next weekend’s qualifying final against West Coast and perhaps deeper into the finals.
While Smith’s absence would be a major blow for Hawthorn, fellow runner Bradley Hill continued his welcome return to form with 27 disposals.
But this was all about the two-time defending premiers freshening up for the finals.
Cyril Rioli was a late withdrawal because of gastro and fellow Hawks indigenous star Shaun Burgoyne was subbed off at halftime.
Smith’s injury came a day after news broke that captain Luke Hodge, serving a suspension, was fined for drink-driving.
Hawthorn will decide in the next 24 hours whether further action is warranted against their star skipper.
Carlton surrendered to Hawthorn by 138 points in round 17, a club record for the Blues.
They were better in John Barker’s last game as interim coach, with new mentor Brendon Bolton also watching from the stands.
But Hawthorn kicked five goals to one in the first quarter and the game was a procession.
Hawks star Sam Mitchell did his Brownlow Medal chances no harm with 34 possessions.
Jordan Lewis and Jarryd Roughead, who kicked four goals, also impressed.
In his last match before retirement, Carlton onballer Andrew Carrazzo starred.
Teammate Kade Simpson was reported in the second term for a high bump on Hawks ruck-forward David Hale.
There was a touching tribute before the start of the game for Hawks assistant coach and Carlton great Brett Ratten.
His son Cooper died in a car crash last month and the two teams ran through a banner that read “Family” in large letters.
Ratten was in tears on the boundary line as players and officials from the two teams acknowledged him.