The man who bears the biggest burden for Hawthorn, Jason Dunstall, is set
to play in the opening round despite having a knee reconstruction at the end of
Remarkably, if Dunstall plays against St Kilda on Saturday night, he will not
have missed a premiership match after damaging his knee in the qualifying final
loss to Sydney last year.
But Dunstall's imminent return was offset yesterday when wingman Darren
Kappler had a groin operation. He could miss the first 10 rounds.
Kappler, who damaged his groin a fortnight ago, could be one of a number of
senior players missing on Saturday night, along with Chris Langford, Ray Jencke,
Shane Crawford and Paul Salmon.
Dunstall yesterday said he was a good chance to be picked for the senior
match after playing a half in the reserves last Friday night.
"I'm a rough chance to play this week. Obviously, I'm not going to play
unless all our medical people, the physios and match committee, are 100 per cent
with me playing," he said.
Dunstall said last Friday's hit-out had given him added confidence that his
knee would stand up to senior football.
Hawthorn football manager John Hook said last night that a bone scan would
today reveal the extent of damage to Crawford's ankle.
Jencke (groin) is expected to miss several rounds and the availability of
Salmon, who also has groin strain, will depend on a fitness test later this
GEELONG forward Gary Ablett is expected to announce this morning that he will
play on this season after making it through the final few weeks of the
pre-season without any knee complications, but with a renewed zest to play.
Former captain Garry Hocking will tonight front the AFL Tribunal after
yesterday being charged with allegedly striking Carlton's Matthew Hogg with an
open hand to the face during the first quarter of last Friday night's Ansett Cup
grand final at the MCG.
SYDNEY coach Rodney Eade confirmed yesterday that full-forward Tony Lockett,
who is recovering from a groin operation, would not be risked in Saturday
night's match against West Coast in Perth.
ALL-AUSTRALIAN midfielder Craig Lambert, who is battling a thigh problem, is
rated a 50-50 chance to play for the Brisbane Lions against Adelaide on Sunday.
CHARLES HAPPELL reports that North Melbourne reserves player Danny Stevens
had to be carried from the field at Arden Street last night after damaging his
ankle during a routine drill.
Stevens, 20, who played just one senior match last year, was last night
thought to have a badly sprained ankle, but will have undergo X-rays today. The
Roos' list is already down to 38 players.