Hawthorn appears more hopeful than realistic that champion full-forward
Jason Dunstall will play again this season, but the Hawks are resigned to him
not playing next year.
Dunstall snapped his right clavicle (collarbone) against Carlton at Optus
Oval on Saturday and was yesterday too sore to travel to Bendigo with teammates
for a supporters' commitment.
Hawthorn physiotherapist Barry Gavin yesterday predicted Dunstall was a
chance to play in the final home-and-away fixture against Fremantle at Waverley
Park, but that optimism is not shared by doctors at several other clubs.
Gavin said Dunstall would have his shoulder in a special brace for several
weeks and that he could not start running for at least three to four weeks. "It
will start to heal in about 10 days, but it will be brittle for several months,"
Because of the nature of Dunstall's clean break, doctors at other clubs
agreed that it would be extremely risky to play within eight weeks. "We would
normally recommend 10 weeks off," one club doctor said. "It would be different
if it was a hairline fracture, maybe just six or seven weeks. But a clean
fracture where the bone overlaps takes a lot longer."
Hawthorn coach Ken Judge yesterday said that while he was not confident of
Dunstall playing on after this season, he would attempt to convince him to do
"We've got to do some serious work to convince him to play next year," Judge
said. "He's still our captain, he's still a very good player and a valuable
"He may well be thinking, do I really want to finish my career like this?"
After kicking his 52nd goal for the year, and his 1252nd in a career spanning
14 seasons, Dunstall twisted and fell in a collision with Carlton's full-back
He landed on his right shoulder early in the second quarter and almost
simultaneously, Silvagni landed on top of him, which forced Dunstall's shoulder
into the ground and his collarbone just gave way.
The 33-year-old Dunstall is just 48 goals short of breaking Gordon Coventry's
61-year-old league career record of 1299 goals.
While not making their feelings public, Hawthorn officials yesterday conceded
that Dunstall would probably announce his retirement this year, just over a
year since he underwent his second knee reconstruction.
Optus Oval was the ground where he wrecked his knee last year against the
same opposition, resulting in a total reconstruction and 10 months on the
After last season's knee reconstruction in May, Dunstall did not decide on
his future until February this year when he signed a one-year deal with the
Hawks' rookie Trent Croad is likely to be played at full-forward this Sunday
against Adelaide at Football Park. Croad played in defence in the reserves on
the weekend, but is likely to be recalled in place of Dunstall.
Western Bulldogs prime mover Jose Romero will today have X-rays to
determine the extent of damage to a nagging foot injury.
Romero initially hurt his foot against Adelaide in round 11, and he was
unable to take the field after half-time against St Kilda on Saturday after
aggravating the problem in the second term.
A scan taken several weeks ago revealed no bone damage, but Bulldogs
officials are concerned that something may have been overlooked.
The state-of-origin squad member has been playing with the assistance of
painkilling injections lately and remains in doubt for Saturday's Optus Oval
clash with Melbourne.
Leon Cameron will miss another week because of a thigh strain, while centre
half-back Craig Ellis was a late withdrawal from the reserves game on Saturday.
Ellis has missed seven of the past eight rounds because of an ankle problem.
Football manager Paul Armstrong said Ellis was "not quite right" last
weekend, but he would be available this week for either the senior or reserves
North Melbourne ruckman Corey McKernan is expected to be available against
St Kilda at Waverley Park on Saturday, despite spending most of the second half
on the bench on Friday night against the Bombers.
North doctor Harry Unglik yesterday said he expected McKernan to be available
as he rested as a precaution because of back-related hamstring soreness. "Corey
could have gone back on if the situation warranted," Unglik said.
Brett Allison could resume from a knee problem in the reserves this week,
while Unglik said John Longmire was on target to resume in round 16 after hernia
Essendon yesterday declared Michael Long suffered nothing other than
blurred vision against North on Friday night after after receiving a knock to
Andrew Ukovic remains doubtful this week after straining his groin in the
seconds, while Sean Denham got through his comeback match unscathed in the
reserves. Denham, who has been troubled by a back problem, played just over half
a game and will play one more before being considered for a senior recall.