Franklin set to miss must-win AFL final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Franklin set to miss must-win AFL final

By Sam Lienert 10/09/2011 02:47:59 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn expect Lance Franklin to miss Friday night's cut-throat AFL semi-final, despite scans showing the star forward has avoided knee ligament damage.

Scans on Saturday revealed Franklin had sustained only bone bruising and swelling around his knee, when he hyperextended it in the last quarter of Friday night's morale-sapping 14.14 (98) to 9.13 (67) qualifying final loss to Geelong.

Franklin expressed hope that meant he could play next weekend, against either St Kilda or Sydney.

"I just want to hopefully get up for Friday night's game and give the boys a hand," he told Fox Sports.

But that hope appears forlorn, with the Hawks saying in a statement that "at this early stage he is unlikely to take part in the Hawks final next Friday night".

Ruckman Max Bailey is also under a cloud, after copping a minor calf injury.

But coach Alastair Clarkson said the big issue his side needed to fix to avoid an early finals exit was to lift their desperation for the contested ball.

"That's what we need to find ourselves, over certainly next week and see whether we can progress beyond that," Clarkson said.

"But if we don't get a bit harder and tougher around the contest then we'll struggle to progress past next week."

Captain Luke Hodge said more disheartening than Franklin's last-quarter injury was the way the Hawks played.

"Injuries happen in football. I guess the more frustrating thing was just that they dominated the contested footy," Hodge said.

"It was embarrassing how they beat us in and under.

"But I guess the luxury of getting top four is you get another chance.

"We've ruined the first one and we'll come out firing next week."

Clarkson said the Cats' superior ferocity at the contest hurt the Hawks both at ground level, with the Cats whipping the ball too easily out of the middle and pumping it forward, and in the air.

Geelong dominated the ruck duels, led by a superb game from veteran Brad Ottens, and took a whopping 25 contested marks for the night, helped by Ottens and fellow big men James Podsiadly, Tom Hawkins and Trent West.

Clarkson said the speed and frequency of Geelong's attacking moves made life difficult for his height-strapped defence, but clearly, after coping remarkably well throughout the year despite the loss of Stephen Gilham and Ben Stratton to long-term injuries, the backmen had felt the pinch.

Hodge said after the initial dejection of the loss, there would be a spirited response.

"When you come off a loss you always hunger to play the next game," the skipper said.

"I can tell you there are 22 guys, plus the other guys that didn't play, that are hungry to play next week, very hungry to play.

"We'll sit down, we'll watch the Sydney-St Kilda game, we'll take notes and it's going to be more spirited next week."

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