Buddy's loss could give Sewell reprieve - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Buddy's loss could give Sewell reprieve

By Sam Lienert 16/07/2010 03:30:36 PM Comments (0)

An ankle injury to Lance Franklin looks likely to save a Hawthorn premiership midfielder from demotion for the second time this AFL season.

Franklin was on Friday ruled out of playing in Saturday's match against Brisbane in Launceston, after spraining his ankle at training on Tuesday.

His forced withdrawal offers a potential selection lifeline to 2007 best and fairest Brad Sewell, who was left out of the initial 22 on Thursday night, but travelled with the team on Friday.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the Hawks left a decision on Franklin until Friday in the hope he would come good, but did not want to risk compounding the damage.

"We won't play Buddy this week, he rolled his ankle on Tuesday and he's close, we saw him this morning at the club and we just don't think it's worth the risk," Clarkson said.

"We don't say that in a manner that we disrespect Brisbane as an opponent, that's certainly not the case.

"We just think at this stage of the year it's more important that we get him fully right and he'll hopefully be right for St Kilda next week."

It continues a stop-start season for Franklin, who missed rounds one, four and 11 through suspension, as well as the round seven clash with West Coast at Subiaco with an ankle sprain.

On that occasion, Franklin was also ruled out the day before the game after rolling his ankle midweek.

Experienced midfielder Jordan Lewis, initially dropped from that side, became a late inclusion and responded with 31 disposals.

But Clarkson gave no guarantee that fellow hard-nosed midfielder Sewell would be a similar beneficiary of Franklin's latest setback.

"He may get a reprieve tomorrow and come into the side or he may not, we'll wait and see over the next 24 hours," Clarkson said.

"But it's a clear message to him and others in our side that we need to be performing at our capabilities, and I don't think Brad has done that over the last six to eight weeks."

Sewell has not been dropped since mid-2005, with his only games missed since then due to injury, including the first four rounds this year with a broken collarbone.

While he has been below his best, Sewell made a useful contribution in last round's narrow loss to Geelong, with 24 disposals, seven tackles and a late snapped goal to give the Hawks a shot at victory.

But Clarkson said he was not living up to his normal high standards.

"He hasn't been able to generate the same sort of clearances and impact on games that we expect from a guy of his calibre," he said.

"He's got tremendous character and he'll bounce back from this, whether he plays tomorrow or not."

Fellow emergencies Jordan Lisle, a 196cm forward who is yet to make his AFL debut, and young running player Shane Savage also travelled with the team and are the other selection contenders.

Clarkson said there was no doubt on captain Sam Mitchell, who returns after missing one game for hand surgery.

The Lions have regained inspirational skipper Jonathan Brown and key defender Matt Maguire, and after downing the Hawks in Launceston last year, Clarkson rates them tougher opposition than their record of one win in the past 11 rounds suggests.

He tipped that Brisbane, who lost gun midfielder Simon Black, could also make late changes, but would not say which players the Hawks believed were under injury clouds.

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