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Blues remain upbeat on star's ankle injury

JLT Post-match | Cam Bruce Carlton's full press conference after their second JLT match against Hawthorn.
Matthew Kreuzer in action in the first quarter against Hawthorn - AFL,JLT Series,Hawthorn Hawks,Carlton Blues,University of Tasmania Stadium,Alastair Clarkson,Brendon Bolton
Matthew Kreuzer in action in the first quarter against Hawthorn

CARLTON expects Matthew Kreuzer to be fit in time to take on Richmond in the 2018 AFL season opener after the big Blue suffered an ankle injury against Hawthorn on Saturday night.

Kreuzer rolled his ankle during the first quarter of the Blues' five-point win over the Hawks and was not seen again after limping to the Carlton rooms late in the term.

Full match coverage and stats

"All I know is he has rolled his ankle and that's it at this point," Carlton assistant coach Cam Bruce said.

"We'll know more as the night unfolds but at this point in time we are pretty confident he should be good to go in round one."

Despite missing the influential ruckman for most of the night, the Blues were able to recover from a shaky first half to pile on 10 goals to five in the second half and hung on during a frantic finish to maintain a perfect record in the JLT Community Series.

As well as soaking up plenty of pressure applied by the Hawks during the first half, Carlton was able to turn the game around and post the club's first score in excess of 100 points since June 2016 when they achieved the feat against the Brisbane Lions.

"It's really pleasing to get over 100 points," Bruce said. "That shows the improvement in offence we've made over the pre-season but we're certainly not content on getting less than 40 inside 50s. We'll continue to address that and give ourselves the best chance to get the game played in our half."

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admitted his side lacked some 'polish' in the final pre-season hit-out and hinted at work to be done ahead of a round one clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

WATCH Alastair Clarkson's full post match press conference

"Our preparation has been strong," he said. "We've got good game time into our players but like all sides we're just a little bit rusty."

The Hawks finished a long way in front in terms of forward entries and tackles, but were unable to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.

"We just lacked polish in front of goal," Clarkson said.

WATCH: One Hawk finds his range in front of goal
 

Among the positives for Hawthorn was a stand-out performance from Jaeger O'Meara who looked fit and strong ahead of his second season at the club.

"He has had a really good summer and started the game really well," Clarkson said.

"We're pleased with his progress and hopefully he can be part of a midfield that gives our forwards good supply and if he plays his role for us we think he'll make a really valuable contribution, not just this season but in the years ahead."

While Ben McEvoy is locked in as the Hawks' No.1 ruckman for the season opener against Collingwood, Clarkson won't have to make a call on Jon Ceglar's return for several weeks yet.

Ceglar missed the entire 2017 season with a ruptured ACL, while a sore back has hampered his preparation this year.   

"He's just out of action at the moment with a lower back injury that's just causing him a bit of discomfort but he's nearly back into full training, so we'll just see how that unfolds," Clarkson said.

"Unfortunately he's going to be behind the eight-ball a little bit because he hasn't played a practice game to date, so he'll probably have to get some match conditioning either through Box Hill or through his training."