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Burto's "not a significantly bad injury"

R1: Clarkson Post-Match Press Conference Alastair Clarkson spoke to the media following the Hawks Round 1 win.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Alastair Clarkson, Senior Coach of the Hawks and Ryan Burton of the Hawks celebrate during the 2018 AFL round 01 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 24, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Clarkson comforts Burton at the end of the match.

Young Hawk Ryan Burton faces a race against time to be fit for Hawthorn's Easter Monday clash with Geelong after suffering a left ankle injury on Saturday night.

Last year's NAB AFL Rising Star runner-up hurt the ankle in a foot race with Collingwood debutant Jaidyn Stephenson late in the second term of the Hawks' 34-point victory.

Read: Match report - Hawthorn v Collingwood

Two trainers carried Burton from the field and he took no further part in the contest, which coach Alastair Clarkson said puts the 21-year-old in doubt to face the Cats.

"Our rule of thumb is if they can't come back on the ground they're usually in a fair amount of doubt to play the next week," Clarkson told reporters.

"We have got nine days until Easter Monday when we play the Cats, so that will give him more of a chance than if it had been a six or seven-day break, of course.

"But we don't think it's a significantly bad injury and he'll be touch and go to play, I'd imagine.

"(It's) not a good sign that he can't return, so he'd be pushing it to play, but … he's been able to recover from injuries pretty quickly before, so we'll see how he goes this time."

WATCH Alastair Clarkson's full post-match press conference

The Burton injury was the sole negative on a promising night for Hawthorn, which welcomed premiership stars Cyril Rioli, Ben Stratton and James Frawley back into the fold.

None of that trio played more than eight games last season, when the Hawks missed the finals for the first time since 2009, but all made contributions in their return.

"We got some guys to play, strangely enough, in their positions last year when a lot of those guys were out injured," Clarkson said.

"Those younger ones have benefited from the exposure they got last year, but there's no doubt Stratton and Frawley were outstanding in our back end tonight.

"(Paul) Puopolo and Rioli getting back into the side, (Jaeger) O'Meara; we had a fair amount of our quality out of our side (last year), and that's helped us in the long term, but I don't think it helped us too much in the short term last year."

O'Meara (27 disposals, six clearances) formed a terrific one-two midfield punch with record-breaker Tom Mitchell (54, nine) and looked back to his powerful, quick self.

"He's had a really impressive summer and he's got through the summer without a hitch, in terms of his conditioning," Clarkson said of O'Meara.

"That was a feature of his first couple of years at Gold Coast – his ability to cover ground and get out of a stoppage really quickly – and we've seen that over the course of the summer.

"It's now just a matter of transferring that into games now, but we're just keen that he, Tom and the rest of the midfielders make their contribution when their time is in there and I thought he did that pretty well tonight."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs