HAWTHORN recruit Max Lynch is on track to return for the traditional Easter Monday fixture against Geelong after experiencing an interrupted start to life at Waverley Park.
The 23-year-old was substituted out of his first game in the brown and gold in the second quarter after suffering a concussion against North Melbourne in round one and hasn’t been sighted at any level since.
Lynch was expected to only miss the trip to South Australia to face Port Adelaide in round two, but AFL.com.au understands the ruckman still hasn’t cleared concussion protocols due to circumstances unrelated to the head knock.
The former Magpie was delayed in entering concussion protocols due to the symptoms from the head knock taking longer than first expected to subside.
Just when Lynch was set to complete the closing stages of concussion protocols he entered health and safety protocols last week as a close contact, preventing him from completing some of the requirements to be cleared to face Carlton in round three.
Lynch exited health and safety protocols on Tuesday and is set to train on Wednesday and Friday ahead of the clash at the MCG next Monday.
If Lynch can clear the session on Wednesday, which needs to include incidental contact and Friday's main training, which needs to include some form of match simulation, he will exit concussion protocols in time to face the Cats.
Young ruckman Ned Reeves was forced to ruck one out against St Kilda pair Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall in Sunday's 69-point loss at the MCG.
With captain Ben McEvoy ruled out for the next few months with a fractured neck, Sam Mitchell is looking for another ruckman to support Reeves.
Dual All-Australian Chad Wingard is still in doubt for the clash against the Cats after suffering a deep cork against Carlton in round three.
Wingard is still waiting for the bleeding to go down in the area and will then undergo scans later in the week to determine when he can return.
The timing of Hawthorn's game this round might work in Wingard's favour, but the Hawks could choose to err on the side of caution given his injury-interrupted start to 2022.
The Hawks will be without young defender Will Day this weekend after he suffered a concussion in the incident that attracted a two-match ban for St Kilda ruckman Paddy Ryder from the Match Review Officer.
Emerging forward Jacob Koschitzke suffered an eye injury in the opening minutes of Box Hill’s win over Sandringham on Sunday but has since been cleared of any damage, with the Hawks hopeful he will be fit to play this weekend.