HAWTHORN will rely on a bare-bones midfield as it attempts to defeat St Kilda with star midfielder Jaeger O’Meara ruled out of Sunday’s clash at Marvel Stadium, while Saints captain Jarryn Geary will also miss in a very late change made 20 minutes before the bounce.
Midfield stopper Daniel Howe comes into Hawthorn’s team to replace O’Meara for what will be his first game of 2019.
O’Meara succumbed to a corked left hip after copping a knock in last week’s 16-point win over North Melbourne.
The smooth-moving on-baller was hurt in the second-quarter but returned and played a pivotal role in the come-from-behind triumph, finishing with a stat-line of 31 possessions, seven inside 50s, nine clearances and 12 tackles.
O’Meara was restricted to light duties at training during the week, but Hawks football manager Graham Wright said the club was confident the former Sun would be right to play in the Easter Monday blockbuster against modern-day rival Geelong.
“We’d obviously love to have Jaeger fit and firing today, but unfortunately he just isn’t 100 per cent,” said Wright.
“It’s only a minor issue and we’re confident he’ll be back next week, but we’ve opted to take the cautious approach, knowing that we have a very capable player in Howie ready to step in and play his role.”
O’Meara is averaging a career-best 28.3 possessions per game this season and his absence means coach Alastair Clarkson will have to once again think outside the square, given that the Hawks will also be without reigning Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell (broke leg) and hamstring duo Shaun Burgoyne and Liam Shiels.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast and Carlton will go in as named for Sunday’s contest at Metricon Stadium.
SUNDAY APRIL 14
ST KILDA versus HAWTHORN, Marvel Stadium, 3.20pm (AEST)
ST KILDA: Jarryn Geary (virus) replaced in selected side by Ben Paton
HAWTHORN: Jaeger O’Meara (corked hip) replaced in selected side by Daniel Howe
ST KILDA: Blake Acres, Hunter Clark, Dean Kent, Ben Paton
HAWTHORN: Harry Morrison, Conor Nash, Daniel Howe, Jack Scrimshaw
GOLD COAST versus CARLTON, Metricon Stadium, 2.20pm (AEST)
No late changes
GOLD COAST: Anthony Miles, Brayden Fiorini, Jordan Murdoch, Jack Lukosius
CARLTON: Lochie O’Brien, Mitch McGovern, Nic Newman, Michael Gibbons