Hawthorn premiership star Cyril Rioli is facing 12 weeks on the sidelines because of a knee injury, adding to the Hawks’ struggles as they cling to their faint hopes of making the finals.
Scans revealed Rioli sustained a high-grade posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury in the Hawks’ costly 38-point win over Brisbane in Launceston last Saturday, a result which left the club in 14th place on the ladder.
Rioli’s injury comes amid the Hawks’ poor start to the season, which saw them lose their opening four matches, although they have recovered to some degree by reaching a 3-5 win-loss record through eight rounds.
“It’s a fairly significant PCL injury and [Rioli] could miss anywhere from eight to 12 weeks,” Hawks high performance manager Andrew Russell said.
The Hawks will also be missing Ben Stratton and James Frawley because of long-term injuries.
Stratton will be out for at least a month with bone bruising in his knee, while fellow defender Frawley will be sidelined for at least two months because of turf toe.
“Stratts jarred his knee driving off into a contest and he’s got some pretty significant bone bruising. It’s very unlikely that he’ll play before the bye and it could be a four-to-six-week injury at this stage,” Russell said.
“[Frawley] could be up to eight weeks or more, for that turf toe to settle down.”
The Hawks are still without Grant Birchall, who is still at least a fortnight away as he recovers from a knee injury, while star recruit Jaeger O’Meara (knee) is running but yet to train.
Russell said the Hawks’ injury list was taking its toll on the club.
“We had a challenging week,” Russell said.
“I don’t think we’ve ever finished a game and had no one to come on the ground.”