Hawthorn gave a spectacularly indifferent performance in the club's NAB Cup Opener on Saturday, however coach Allistair Clarkson wasn't too concerned about the result.
The Hawks were edged by the Gold Coast Suns in the opening game, losing by one-point, before Brisbane claimed a 21-point win over last year's finalists in the triple-header, reduced length hit out.To worsen the results Hawthorn lost livewire small forward Paul Puopolo with what looked to be a serious knee injury.
Puopolo, who proved he could be more than an occasional substitute for the Hawks in 2012, hit the ground hard against Gold Coast and came up holding his knee. In what initially looked to be a bad result Puopolo was eventually able to hobble off the field.
Clarkson wasn't stressing too much about the double batch of losses and said Puopolo's injury looked worse than it was.
"I think he (Puopolo) is OK. He's walking around, so he'll be OK," he said. News later emerged that the injury Puopolo had sustained a jarred knee, easing concerns.
Emerging into the next round of the NAB Cup obviously wasn't of huge concern to a team with title aspirations and Clarkson said as much.
"We get gametime for our players, that's the most critical thing.
"We were pretty competitive for three quarters and then the heat probably drained a bit out of us the last quarter.
"Brisbane ran over the top of us a bit. They had more legs … but we'd been out there in pretty stifling conditions for three quarters prior to that.
"We gave exposure to a lot of younger players on our list tonight and they'll really benefit from that."
Superstar forward Lance Franklin didn't have a great day and could come under scrutiny from the AFL match review panel after collecting Suns midfielder Matt Shaw with some high contact.
Franklin had just five touches against the Suns and nine touches, two clearances and three inside-50s against Brisbane after being moved into the midfield. He failed to score a goal in either game and took just two marks on the day.
He competed hard, he was a bit scratchy with the ball from time to time. In hindsight we should have brought a mosquito fleet up here because it wasn't a game where it was conducive to tall players," Clarkson said of Franklin.
"It was nearly like wet weather footy. He had a bit of a run up there (midfield). With the ball so slippery we thought if we could get the ball in his hands at least he can kick it a mile when he gets it."
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