The Courier-Mail

Hawks look to Hartung as a back-up plan for Smith

- SAM LANDSBERGE­R

HAWTHORN’S initial optimism speedster Isaac Smith’s knee would recover in time for Friday night’s qualifying final is expected to fade today with dashing wingman Billy Hartung tipped to make the trip west.

Smith (pictured) strained the medial ligament in his left knee during Saturday’s win against Carlton and was sent for scans yesterday.

Sports medical expert Dr Peter Larkins believed the injury could also rule Smith out of a potential MCG semi-final on Friday week, should the Hawks go down to West Coast at Subiaco.

Hartung, 20, has played 18 games this season. Clarkson sent him to the VFL on Saturday for match fitness after starting the previous two weeks as a substitute. SYDNEY co-captain Kieren Jack is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the finals after being been diagnosed with medial ligament damage.

Jack (pictured) suffered the knee injury in Saturday’s final round win over Gold Coast.

Swans football general manager Tom Harley said yesterday the likely timeframe on Jack’s return was three weeks.

“It is a really disappoint­ing setback for Kieren and as our co-captain, he is clearly an important player for us,” Harley said.

The fourthplac­ed Swans were already down one gun midfielder with reigning best and fairest Luke Parker missing the past three games with a broken fibula. He is facing a battle to be fit to face minor premiers Fremantle in Saturday’s qualifying final in Perth.

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