Hawthorn’s chances of holding top spot on the AFL ladder has suffered a blow with skipper Luke Hodge ruled out for one to two weeks with a fractured thumb.


Hodge had surgery on Monday after hurting his thumb during the last quarter of Saturday’s upset loss to seventh-placed Richmond, which was only the Hawks’ third defeat in 2013.

While Hawthorn will start as strong favourites against third-bottom side St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, their round-21 blockbuster clash with sixth-placed Collingwood at the MCG on August 16 is likely to be a tougher encounter, especially if Hodge, who is a strong motivator, is still on the sidelines.

“Luke has had corrective surgery today to repair a minor fracture in his thumb and we expect he will return in 1-2 weeks,” Hawthorn’s acting football manager Chris Fagan said in a statement released on Monday night.

Hawthorn ruckman David Hale admits complacency hurt the Hawks in their surprise loss to Richmond.

Badly needing a big scalp, the Tigers jumped Hawthorn and pulled away for an outstanding 41-point win on Saturday.

While it confirmed Richmond’s long finals drought is over, the match left the league’s top side collectively scratching their heads.

It came only eight days after Hawthorn had dismantled Essendon by 56 points, strongly suggesting they were right on track for their title tilt.

“You can’t be complacent,” Hale said on Monday.

“You can’t go into a game and just think it’s going to happen.

“You have to ‘turn up’ every week.

“The first quarter, we were probably lucky to be within three goals.

“If we come with the right mindset, we think we can match it with anyone.”

Hale added there was no physical letdown from the Essendon game.

He said Monday’s video review with coach Alastair Clarkson would probably be unpleasant.

Clarkson was philosophical post-match, noting Hawthorn’s form had been impressive since their last poor performance, also against the Tigers in round nine last year.

But Hale conceded there were likely to be some barbs from the feisty Hawks coach.

“Going through the tape, he might find a few things that he didn’t agree with too much,” Hale said.

“We served it up, so we have to cop what happens.”

Hawthorn are certain to hit back hard this week, with Richmond coach Damien Hardwick saying he pitied their next opponents.

Hawthorn’s run to the finals features matches against St Kilda, Collingwood, 10th-placed North Melbourne and second-placed Sydney who are on 58 points, just half a win behind the Hawks.

“I’d say Clarko will have us pretty primed from the start this week, so it’s something where we have to bounce back,” Hale said.

“A lot of players were probably down on the weekend.”

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