Hawthorn vice-captain Jaeger O’Meara has been ruled out of Friday night’s AFL clash with fierce rivals Geelong.
Midfielder O’Meara suffered a minor fracture above his eye in Hawthorn’s first contact session on May 25 and has been unable to recover in time to face the Cats at GMHBA Stadium.
“He won’t play this week … he’s done most of the training but we haven’t been able to ramp it up to full-on contact just yet and the surgeon and doctor won’t allow us to do that until early next week,” said coach Alastair Clarkson on Thursday.
“So he’s an unfortunate miss for us this week but hopefully he’ll be right for next week.”
In O’Meara’s absence, Chad Wingard is one player who could get more midfield minutes against the Cats.
“We’ve always run a lot of players through the middle of the ground,” Clarkson said.
“So (Paul) Puopolo and Wingard and (Luke) Breust and (Jack) Gunston and these sorts of guys – (Isaac) Smith, (Ricky) Henderson.
“We’ve got a fair amount of depth through the middle of the ground so we’ll probably push those guys through in Jaeger’s absence.”
Blake Hardwick, who missed round one, is in the mix to return from a ruptured pectoral muscle.
The defender suffered the injury in March and was initially expected to miss up to 10 weeks.
“He’s available to play, we just need to need to make a tough call on whether he’s done enough,” Clarkson said.
“He’s been doing contact stuff for probably three or four weeks now so we’re reasonably pleased with where he’s positioned.
“… we don’t necessarily want to make too much change to that side that knocked off Brisbane.”
Swingman Jack Gunston is set to play, having put together a strong training block since suffering a back spasm earlier in the return to training.