TAYLOR Garner's nightmare injury run has continued, with North Melbourne's exciting forward suffering hamstring tightness again in the VFL on Saturday.

The 24-year-old looked to have turned the corner last season – playing a career-high 18 matches – after an injury-marred start to his AFL career, but is yet to appear at senior level in 2018.

There was also bad news for Hawthorn in the same state league game, with midfielder Daniel Howe spraining his left ankle in the last quarter and taking no further part.

The Hawks held defender Conor Glass and ruckman Jon Ceglar out of the VFL contest ahead of Sunday's clash with West Coast at Etihad Stadium.

Hip and groin problems hampered Garner in the pre-season before he returned through the VFL in round three, only for a sore hamstring to sideline him two games into his comeback.

Saturday's contest, which the Roos won by 36 points over the Hawks' VFL affiliate Box Hill at Werribee's Avalon Airport Oval, was his third match in a row, but he now faces time out again.

Garner received a massage on his left hamstring in the third quarter before briefly going back on the field but was done for the day at three-quarter time.

He was seemingly nearing a senior return as one of four emergencies for North Melbourne's AFL team this weekend.

Garner, who is contracted through the 2020 season, had shown promising signs against Box Hill, kicking two first-quarter majors, including one after a trademark leap to clutch a chest mark.

The No.15 pick in the 2012 draft managed only 16 games in his first four seasons, in large part because of repeated hamstring setbacks, as well as shoulder, ankle, thumb and knee issues.

Paul Ahern (22 disposals) was a North standout with his composure and kicking skills and must be close to making his AFL debut, while teenage forward Nick Larkey was strong aerially and booted five goals.

Ruckman Braydon Preuss (17) was a key reason the Roos went to half-time with a 10-goal advantage and Cam Zurhaar starred with seven tackles and 4.2 from 18 disposals.

Declan Mountford (ankle) played only after half-time after five matches out and key backman Dan Nielson returned from two weeks on the sidelines with concussion.

Nathan Hrovat travelled with North to Perth as its match-day emergency for Sunday's game against Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

Howe was one of the Hawks' best players before his ankle injury, compiling 26 possessions, 10 marks, four tackles and two goals.

Teia Miles amassed 23 touches and six tackles in his new defensive role and Brendan Whitecross kicked two majors among his 20 disposals.

Hawthorn-listed Kurt Heatherley sat out the second half, as planned, as he makes his way back from an Achilles injury.

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