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Injuries, reports headline Hawks, Roos

Josh Gibson of the Hawks receives medical treatment during the 2013 NAB Cup round 04 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Hawthorn Hawks at Highgate Recreational Reserve, Craigieburn. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Hawthorn is hopeful Josh Gibson will be fit to play in round one after an injury scare against North Melbourne on Saturday
HAWTHORN defender Josh Gibson has escaped injury after a heavy collision just before half-time in the Hawks' 81-point win over North Melbourne at Craigieburn's Highgate Reserve on Saturday.

But the Hawks face an anxious wait to see whether ruckman David Hale will be available for round one after he was booked for forceful front-on contact with North forward Leigh Adams late in the first quarter.

North recruit Taylor Hine was booked on the same charge after a collision with Hawk forward Jack Gunston in the third quarter.

A week after the Hawks lost fellow defender Matt Suckling to a season-ending knee injury, Gibson sent shudders through Hawks fans at Saturday's game when he limped from the ground after the collision and did not appear after half-time.

He appeared to collide with a behind post before he came off, but Clarkson said after the game he had copped a knock in a marking contest.

Clarkson said he expected Gibson would be fit to play in the Hawks' round one clash with Geelong on Easter Monday.

"I think he's going to be OK, Gibbo. We were always going to take him out at half-time anyway. He just copped a bit of a knock in a marking contest," Clarkson said.

"He'll be OK I think. He's a tough competitor."  








Report: David Hale was placed on report after a clash with North Melbourne's Leigh Adams

Clarkson wasn't as committal when asked about the chances of captain Luke Hodge (knee), Cyril Rioli (ankle), star recruit Brian Lake (calf) and Michael Osborne (knee) returning against the Cats.
 
"[Rioli and Lake] both trained really well this morning ... we just need to make a determination on how much game time they've played and how many players we can carry into round one that haven't had the normal minutes that we'd like across the summer," Clarkson said.
 
"They're all important players for us, but they're not that important that you just play them without really good reason. We won't be taking too many risks with players who don't have the match practice."
 
Saturday's game was played in wet, cold and windy conditions after quarter-time, with the teams agreeing to call the match off at the 14-minute mark of the last quarter when the rain became torrential.
 
Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell were outstanding for the Hawks in the midfield, while forward Jack Gunston kicked three goals and impressed with his poise when he drifted back into defence.
 
Key North defender Nathan Grima made a solid return to senior football on Saturday, playing much of the game on Hawks star Lance Franklin. Although Franklin kicked three goals, Grima looked composed in his first appearance for the Roos this season, racking up 26 possessions, including 20 in the first half.
 
North coach Brad Scott said after the match Grima had done enough to prove his fitness for North's round one clash with Collingwood on Easter Sunday.
 
"Based on that performance we think so. He actually played in the VFL last week which was really good to get some game time, but he really needed it," Scott said.
 
"To play 100 per cent game time today was what we were planning for and he came through really well. "
 
Clarkson said it was hard to get a good read of Hawthorn's form given the conditions and the fact North fielded a young team that Scott later estimated had been missing 13 first-choice senior players.
 
"We're happy that we got our systems up and going today and kicked accurately," Clarkson said.

Scott said the Roos had achieved their main objective of getting game time into underdone players and were unlikely to request permission for any players to play in the VFL next weekend.
 
Scott said North's ruck spot was one of about three positions still up for grabs for round one, but said Todd Goldstein had done his chances of holding off recruit Daniel Currie no harm after playing his best quarter of football for two or three years in the opening term of Saturday's game.
 
"We're going to have a really tough decision to make there … but we've got as much information from the two of them as we possibly could and given them both ample opportunity," Scott said.

NORTH MELBOURNE   2.4   3.8   4.9     5.11 (41)                  
HAWTHORN                     4.3   8.5  17.7   19.8  (122)          

GOALS
North Melbourne:
Petrie 2, Harvey 2, Tarrant,
Hawthorn: Hale 4, Franklin 3, Gunston 3, Grimley 3, Duryea, Smith, Breust, Roughead, Birchall, Stratton,

BEST
North Melbourne:
Grima, Cunnington, Adams, Harvey
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Gunston, Sewell, Birchall, Hale, Franklin, Shiels

INJURIES
North Melbourne:
Nil
Hawthorn: Gibson, Ellis (leg)
 
Reports:
David Hale (Hawthorn) for making forceful front-on contact with Leigh Adams (North) in the first quarter
Taylor Hine (North) for making forceful front-on contact with Jack Gunston (Hawthorn) in the third quarter
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs