Hawks take ‘clean ball’ to next level; Bevo backs off from Naughton comments

In today’s AFL briefing, your daily wrap of footy news:

  • The Hawks are preparing to play in Darwin by training with footballs covered in dishwashing liquid
  • The Bulldogs have “moved on” from umpiring decisions involving Aaron Naughton last weekend
  • Adelaide’s Taylor Walker is in health and safety protocols and will miss this weekend’s match against Geelong
  • And, in case you missed it, why Simon Black threw triple premiership teammates Michael Voss and Craig McRae under the bus. 

Check in again later for more news.

Hawks clean up their ball handling skills

Hawthorn have taken the search for clean ball handling to another level.

The Hawks took the unusual step of dipping footballs in dishwashing liquid in preparation for the anticipated slippery conditions against Gold Coast in Darwin on Saturday night.

The balls were dunked in Eskies containing a mix of water and Morning Fresh to replicate the heavy dew that is present in the tropics at this time of year.

Hawthorn trained with footballs covered in Morning Fresh on Wednesday.Credit:Andrew Wu

The recent game between St Kilda and Port Adelaide at Cairns was marred by greasy conditions, which affected ball handling, ball movement and goalkicking. The two clubs booted a combined total of nine goals and 31 behinds.

Hawks coach Sam Mitchell faces a headache at selection as they brainstorm ideas to combat their depleted ruck stocks.

The club is considering bringing back Ned Reeves from a shoulder injury to replace Max Lynch, who is recovering from a second concussion this season.

Reeves, who has not played since Easter Monday, trained with the main group on Wednesday and will undergo a fitness test on Thursday but is considered unlikely to be available.

With no other specialist ruckman fit, Mitchell and his match committee are shuffling the magnets for a left-field solution to take on Gold Coast’s imposing big man Jarrod Witts. Key defender Sam Frost trained in the ruck and will be considered in that role while Mitchell said Daniel Howe and Conor Nash were also options to play as an undersized ruckman.

“It’s a philosophical discussion. We’re probably not going to win [many ruck contests],” Mitchell said.

“Witts is a really big strong ruckman, so you’re not going to win the hitout. So how can we still win this part of the game without winning the hitout? The Bulldogs are very, very low on hitouts, but they’re the No.1 clearance side in the competition. We’ll have a look at what they do because they’re strong in that area.”

Gun youngster Will Day (ankle) and defender Jack Scrimshaw, a late withdrawal against Brisbane due to a shoulder issue, are both under injury clouds.

Both trained but Day will be tested later this week though his ankle would need to be monitored should there be swelling from the flight to Darwin, Mitchell said. Skipper Ben McEvoy ran laps wearing a brace around his injured neck.

Bulldogs have ‘moved on’ from Naughton free kick talk

By Alexander Dabb

Luke Beveridge has addressed his post-match comments about umpiring decisions involving key forward Aaron Naughton, saying the Bulldogs have “just moved on”.

Beveridge put Naughton’s treatment on the agenda after Saturday’s 19-point win in Ballarat, when he suggested Naughton may have been on the receiving end of illegal handling by Sam Collins.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.Credit:AFL Photos

“I’ve got to be really careful here, because he’s been so dominant and then there were reasons why he wasn’t in the second half,” Beveridge said on Saturday. “That’s all I’ll say … after the game what happens is you are pretty sure you know what happened, but you’ve got to go back to have a look just to make sure.”

But on Wednesday, he played down his comments and said they had been made before he had properly reviewed the umpiring decisions from the game.

“I didn’t really have any hard and fast thoughts, there’s always swings and roundabouts. There’s free kicks here and free kicks there, and that’s usually the way we process it, we don’t get too emotional about it,” Beveridge said on Wednesday.

“Coaching from the boundary line, one of the things you lose is that overhead view of the game, and the other thing I’m losing there is the scope to go back and look at replays during the game in real time.”

Beveridge said the Bulldogs had assessed the vision from the weekend and would not be taking the issue any further.

Beveridge also confirmed Cody Weightman and Taylor Duryea would be considered for selection and Tim English will come straight back into the team to face the Eagles this week, although whether both English and ruckman Jordon Sweet would feature was a “critical” decision.

“We’ll get through today’s session and meet at lunchtime today as a match committee and make a call on that, but yeah it’s a chance the two big fellas will play together,” Beveridge said.

Walker out for Crows

Taylor Walker will reportedly miss this weekend’s match against Geelong because he is in the AFL’s health and safety protocols.

Adelaide will face the Cats at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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