Hawks close in on AFL ruck relief

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Ned Reeves is building his case to be cleared to return to bolster Hawthorn's depleted ruck division in the AFL clash with Collingwood.

Reeves has been battling a shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined for the last six weeks, with Ben McEvoy (neck) and Max Lynch (concussion) also out of action.

Those injuries left makeshift ruckmen Jacob Koschitzke and Daniel Howe to shoulder the bulk of the tap work last week and they were monstered by experienced tall Jarrod Witts in a 67-point thumping from Gold Coast.

Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said Reeves is more likely than Lynch to take on Collingwood duo Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox.

The 23-year-old, who has played 10 senior games, got through one training session last week and will be tested further in the coming days.

"He's got enough strength in it now," Mitchell said.

"He was pretty safe the week just gone and it would've been nice to have a recognised ruck in the side but he'd only done one contact session to get there.

"That was enough to technically tick him off but it wasn't enough for our threshold for a player that we think is going to be important for our future.

"We wanted to give him every chance to actually be able to perform at a high level with some confidence in his body.

"So he'll have four or five training sessions by the time he gets to game time and if he gets through all of those incident-free then he'll be available."

Lynch has suffered two concussions this season since joining Hawthorn from Collingwood in a trade deal last year.

Those issues have combined with a stint in health and safety protocols, a bout of food poisoning and an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting to limit him to just six games for the Hawks so far.

If Lynch is not cleared to play against his old side, he could be in contention for the clash with Fremantle in round 13.

"He was in at the club and he was in our meetings, he's doing some training today so I don't think he'll be far away," Mitchell said.

"If he is unavailable, then I assume he'd be available for next week. He's not well behind or anything like that."

Mitchell also said the Hawks would not shy away from picking one of Wednesday night's mid-season draftees to debut against Collingwood, with ruck options being considered.

Gun midfielder Jaeger O'Meara missed the Gold Coast loss with a hamstring injury but is a good chance to return against the Magpies.

"If he's got any signs or any sort of worry then we'll obviously not risk him," Mitchell said.

"But it was a very low-grade incident hat he had so we think he'll probably play."

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