Hawk James Sicily punches the Optus Stadium turf after injuring his right knee. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

NO ONE Hawk will fill injured defender James Sicily's multi-faceted role as Hawthorn adjusts to football life without arguably its best player.

Sicily suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture late in Sunday night's loss to West Coast and will probably be out for the next 12 months.

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Coach Alastair Clarkson listed a number of options who could step up, including Ben McEvoy returning to a defensive role, or more responsibility for young trio Will Day, Jack Scrimshaw and Changkuoth Jiath.

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Jarman Impey could also shift permanently down back again – and proved his intercept abilities last season, before his own ACL setback – while Jack Gunston has gone into defence in the past.

"None of (Day, Scrimshaw or Jiath), right at the moment, are readymade replacements for James Sicily, because he's been doing that role really well for us, perhaps, for the last three, four years now," Clarkson said.

"It's too hard to say someone's going to fit into that spot nice and easily and take up where he left off, but someone's going to need to fill that spot.

"We'll see whether we can get it from those three young fellas."


Asked whether Gunston may reprise the defensive role he's played previously, including in round one against Brisbane, Clarkson said: "What do you want? A headline?"

"The way we play our defence; it's never been one player we rely on in our back end, anyway," he said.

"We play a team-defence methodology in our back end, so whether that's midfield or forward, it's always been the case for us.

"Where you lose one player, you replace him with another … no one role is more important than any other."

The Hawks lost Jaeger O'Meara for at least this week to a broken hand, Isaac Smith (shoulder) will miss again, and it's unclear whether Jon Ceglar (toe) will return.

Clarkson hinted that out-of-favour spearhead Mitch Lewis was unlikely to be picked for Saturday's match against Port Adelaide, but Jon Patton (hamstring) is "in the mix" after resuming in a scratch game last week.

"We've just got to make a judgement on whether one match back is enough match condition for him," he said of Patton.

"He performed well in the game last week and has pulled up pretty well, but … he hasn't played a lot of footy for three years now.

"It's not necessarily about this week for him. We need to be careful not to rush things."