Hawks's Hodge has appendix removed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks's Hodge has appendix removed

By Roger Vaughan and Daniel Brettig 16/05/2008 07:39:40 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn vice-captain Luke Hodge had his appendix removed on Thursday but the surgery is not expected to delay his return to the AFL.

Hodge was already sidelined with a hamstring injury, which he suffered in the round-seven win over Collingwood.

It forced him out of the Victorian team for last Saturday night's Hall of Fame tribute match.

At the time, the Hawks expected him to miss three to four matches.

"We wouldn't expect the surgery to change the timeline for his return to footy," Hawks football manager Mark Evans said.

Evans said Hodge reported to the team doctor before training on Thursday, saying he had felt ill for the previous day and a half.

Meanwhile, Alastair Clarkson's "business as usual" on Saturday will be trying to stop one of the more unusual trends in the AFL.

In the week Hawthorn kept Clarkson's three-year contract extension as low-key as possible, they play Port Adelaide at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

The Power have somehow turned Launceston into a second home, winning five of six matches since first playing there in 2002.

Their only blemish was two years ago, when Daniel Motlop missed a shot after the siren against St Kilda.

In round 20 last year, they stormed past Hawthorn late in the last term to beat them by five points.

Motlop earnt himself some Launceston redemption with a key goal late in the game.

"It was a strange game, Port Adelaide really shot out to a bolt at the start ... we were able to get on top in the middle part of the game and then we fell away poorly in the last five minutes," Clarkson said.

"We didn't structure up very well in our back half ... a learning curve for a lot of our young players.

"But hopefully we would have learnt from that over the summer and the early part of this season and we'll be ready for that type of situation again.

"They very (rarely) happen in football, sometimes you're practising things in training when you're not really sure if they're going to eventuate again or not."

The Hawks are unbeaten after seven rounds and on Tuesday, they announced Clarkson's three-year contract extension with a media release.

Port have won their last three after opening the season with four straight losses.

Clarkson said the Hawks had not taken the usual step of holding a media conference for such an important announcement because his re-appointment was only part of a much bigger process.

"We know the direction the club's going, what needs to be done, so some of these things, despite them being fantastic media stories, it's just business as usual," he said.

"It's not about me ... we put in place a program at the end of 2004 (Clarkson's initial appointment) that was a pretty strong, bold initiative to try and secure our 10th premiership."

While Clarkson's Port Adelaide counterpart and former boss Mark Williams is looking forward to another game in Tasmania, the Power coach is also mindful that the Hawks have improved greatly since last season.

"We've been very successful playing Hawthorn, certainly down in Launceston we really like the surroundings down there, not to say it'll be easy, last year we won on the last kick of the game, so you expect they're playing better than that," Williams said.

"It's going to be a really difficult task, they've won seven in a row, so they're cherry ripe, feeling good and deserve to be favourites."

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