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Hodge hit on Wingard part of a 'hard game': Clarkson

'We weren't anywhere near our best' Alastair Clarkson concedes the scoreboard 'flattered' his Hawks
Just run the tape at full speed, (it's a) hard game
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson

ALASTAIR Clarkson hopes the Match Review Panel takes into account the speed of the game when they assess Luke Hodge's high bump on Chad Wingard in Hawthorn's 22-point loss to Port Adelaide on Friday night.

The defeat dealt a severe blow to the Hawks' top-two ambitions and was compounded by the skipper potentially landing himself in hot water for the third-term incident.

After a fiery start to the second half, Hodge sandwiched Wingard into the behind post as the Power forward bent over to pick up the ball.

The 31-year-old, who has already been suspended for three games this season for striking North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow, faces an anxious wait until the MRP hands down its findings on Monday.

Click here to watch Alastair Clarkson's full post-match press conference 

Asked if he was concerned Hodge would be sidelined again, Clarkson replied: "Just run the tape at full speed, (it's a) hard game.

"It's a game at full speed … I don't really want to speak about the incident because there's no value in it for me.

"They'll look at it and they'll make their determinations from that. But it's a pretty tough call."

 

The Hawks have a relatively straightforward run home, with clashes against the lowly Brisbane Lions and Carlton.

But the back-to-back premiers will be desperate for their skipper to be available for a qualifying final.

Hawthorn is now facing the real prospect of a trip to Perth in week one of the finals, should West Coast defeat the Western Bulldogs at home on Sunday and move six points clear in second spot on the ladder.

Despite the Hawks' lacklustre performance on Friday night, when they never headed the Power in a strangely flat display, Clarkson backed his charges to bounce back.

Click here for full match coverage and statistics

"It's not ideal (to lose at this stage of the season), but there's a lot of sides this time of year that get rolled that still go on (to win premierships)," Clarkson said.

"It's not like 'Oh, 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 tonight, we were shown up by a side that were hungrier and moved the ball better than we did on the night, but we're extremely capable as a group of bouncing back and that's what we plan to do."

The Hawks were beaten across the ground, and struggled to contain Robbie Gray (33 disposals), Sam Gray (34) and Wingard (four goals).

Robbie Gray sparked the Power's fast start with 13 touches in the first term as Port surge to a 14-point advantage.

"He's a good player and sometimes good players get a hold of you and he got a hold of us in the first quarter," Clarkson said.

Paddy Ryder (14 disposals, 40 hit-outs) produced one of his best performances rucking one-out against Ben McEvoy and Jarryd Roughead, following the withdrawal of David Hale (general soreness) pre-game.

"(Ryder) played well and gave them good supply but all their really, really good players played one of their best games for the year," Clarkson said.

"Port Adelaide are a very, very good side – I can't explain why they're 10 (wins) and 10 (losses). So maybe the focus should be on them in a sense … as we saw tonight if their best five or six players play well, good luck to anyone beating them, really. 

Clarkson dismissed any suggestion that playing the final two games of the home and away season against the Lions and the Blues was a concern.

"We just want to play again after tonight, so we don't care who it is or where it is. Don't even care when it is," he said.

"We're pretty keen to atone for a pretty poor performance tonight."