Superstar Cyril Rioli could miss a month of AFL action after re-injuring his troublesome hamstring in Hawthorn’s 53-point win over Gold Coast.
Rioli left the ground in the final quarter of the Hawks’ convincing 7.14(116) to 10.3(63) win in heavy conditions at Aurora Stadium.
Stand-in coach Brendon Bolton confirmed the injury was a recurrence of the left hamstring problem the 24-year-old first suffered against Sydney in round eight, sidelining him for two weeks.
“I don’t think it’s as significant a hamstring (as) Sam Mitchell’s had,” Bolton said.
“I think most times you say around a month when someone gives a hammy a bit of a nick.”
Rioli will have scans early this week as the premiers’ defence runs into its latest injury hurdle.
Mitchell, Josh Gibson (pectoral) and head coach Alastair Clarkson (illness) have all been missing but Bolton said a turnaround in the club’s fortunes was looming.
Clarkson is due back as early as this week, while Mitchell will be fit in one to two weeks, Bolton said.
It hasn’t hurt the Hawks on the field as they notched a fifth-straight win, and their 17th from 18 at their Launceston fortress.
“Our leaders have been standing up for us,” he said.
“They’ve all stood up and filled voids.
“It just shows our footy club’s in a good space and we have good leadership density on all levels.”
Rioli had contributed a brilliant second-quarter goal, drawing inspiration from the soccer World Cup to slide and grubber home from close range.
It came in the middle of a nine-goal blitz from the Hawks, who had trailed by a point at the first break but led by 30 at halftime.
The Hawks booted the last five majors of the second quarter and backed up with the first four of the third to lead by 59 at the final break.
The victory lifts the premiers to a share of the competition lead, with Port Adelaide, ladder leaders heading into round 15, to play on Sunday.
The Suns’ loss leaves their 40-point win over Geelong last weekend looking like a blip, their finals hopes back in the balance with that sole victory from their past five.
“(It’s) just big brother telling little brother ‘just wait your turn, we’re not quite finished at the top of the heap’,” Suns coach Guy McKenna said.
“It’s just a reality check to say this is the level they’re at, this is the level we’re at.”
The Suns are yet to beat the Hawks in six meetings.