Hawks head into AFL unknown without McEvoy

Jason Phelan

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admits he's not entirely certain how the Hawks will fare without No.1 ruckman Ben McEvoy.

A nasty head clash in a win over the Western Bulldogs last week saw McEvoy undergo surgery that will sideline him for up to six matches.

It was bad timing for the eighth-ranked Hawks, who are out to consolidate their spot in the eight when they host Brisbane in Launceston on Saturday.

"It's an untimely out for us coming up against Stef Martin," Clarkson told reporters at Melbourne airport on Friday.

"He's been in particularly good form for them and is a key reason why they've been pretty competitive through the midfield the last few weeks."

Clarkson will adopt a committee approach at the stoppages with ruck-forward Jonathon Ceglar to be helped out by pinch-hitters Jarryd Roughead and Tim O'Brien.

Ceglar wrecked his knee in round 22 of the 2016 season and only returned to the AFL side in round 10, playing a back-up role to McEvoy.

"We're not really certain (how he'll go) to be fair because Cegs hasn't done that role in isolation for a long period of time," Clarkson said.

"There's a little bit of the unknown for us.

"It looks a scary proposition right at the moment but sometimes the way you look at it through the week can be different on game day."

Hawthorn made two changes to the side that smashed the Dogs by 63 points, bringing in Brendan Whitecross and O'Brien for McEvoy and Jonathan O'Rourke (quad).

The resurgent Lions, who will aim to make it three wins in a row, stuck with the same line-up that thumped Carlton by 65 points when young star Eric Hipwood kicked a career-high six goals.

Hawks milestone man James Frawley looks set for the big job on Hipwood in his 200th AFL game.

"It's good recognition for him," Clarkson said.

"To get to 200 games it means you've had to play a decade of consistent footy really. (He's) played on some of the best forwards in the competition.

"... The way that we defend it's not usually one-versus-one in terms of a direct opponent but (he) will find himself on Hipwood frequently thought the course of the game.

"He's been in good form, Hipwood, but that goes for the whole Brisbane side."