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ET: Hawks lose smalls

Hawks duo Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo will miss this weekend's clash.

Hawthorn could look outside the box to replace small forward duo Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo after the pair went down with injuries in the Hawks' impressive win over Melbourne.

Rioli suffered a medial ligament strain in his knee and missed the second half of the 67-point victory while Puopolo limped from the MCG with a hamstring tear.

Both will have scans early this week to determine the extent of their time on the sidelines with the club reluctant to estimate their expected absences, but coach Alastair Clarkson said the Hawks would not necessarily bring in smaller types as replacements.

James Frawley, who was sidelined for the second quarter against the Demons with a migraine, played as a forward in the second half after Rioli went down and Clarkson said the Hawks may have to think laterally to fill the holes left by their injured premiership stars.

"It's pretty hard, but we'll look at how we structure up and what sort of player that is [that we need to come in]," Clarkson said post-game.

"They've been exceptional with their pressure up forward, but we placed Frawley up there and he wasn't exceptional or (didn't) get a lot of touches but he applied the pressure.

"It's not necessarily about trying to find another five foot eight guy who can zip around a bit. It might come from an unusual type of source, so we'll work that out during the week."

The Hawks face North Melbourne next Sunday at Etihad Stadium, with Rioli and Puopolo expected to miss at least several games with their injuries.

The Hawks could look to move small defender Taylor Duryea into attack, where he played last year, while another premiership Hawk, Will Langford, could get a look-in. Ryan Burton was dropped for the clash and has also played in attack as a junior despite settling into Hawthorn's defence the past two seasons.

Hawthorn's third win of the season came after a sluggish start that saw them trail Melbourne by 12 points at the first change. But, they conceded just one more goal for the game, and kept Melbourne goalless for the second and third quarters, in what was a dominant display.

Clarkson said the pressure applied by his side 'overwhelmed' Melbourne across the contest and praised the Hawks for overcoming the injuries to post the win. "We had to face a fair amount of adversity today," he said.

Hawthorn entered the season as something of a mystery, with few, including those at the club, able to ascertain where they sat in the competition's pecking order.

A month in and they are among seven sides at the top of the ladder who have won three games and lost one, with their only defeat coming to reigning premiers Richmond by 13 points.

The Hawks have taken some confidence from their start to the year but the four-time premiership coach was not getting carried away.

"We weren't far off the mark at different stages last year either," he said.

"We've never thought we were a long, long way from it.

"We're really pleased with where we sit, but we know we've got a lot of work to do. It's probably going to be harder for us without our two little jets (Rioli and Puopolo) in our front end not there, but we've got to find a way. We've done it in the past and we'll have to do it again."

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