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Two ACL scares as AFLW Saints beat Hawks

St Kilda’s thumping 53-point AFLW victory over Hawthorn has taken a toll, with both teams potentially losing players to the dreaded ACL tear.

The Hawks were playing their first home game at Box Hill City Oval but were rattled at the opening bounce when ruck Tamara Luke went down clutching her right knee and had to be helped off the ground.

“We have to wait for the scans tomorrow but it certainly looks quite serious,” Hawks coach Bec Goddard told AAP.

“Tam feels like she’s done a pretty significant injury.”

St Kilda’s turn came when Jayde Van Dyk injured her left knee in the second-quarter of the 9.9 (63) to 1.4 (10) victory.

“There is a concern (of an ACL tear). I can’t give you a definitive answer just yet … but we have some fears,” Saints coach Nick Dal Santo told AAP.

Hawthorn’s Louise Stephenson was also injured when she got her left ankle caught underneath herself in a first-quarter tackle.

The key defender returned to play but was pulled from the game at half-time and will be assessed.

After beating Sydney in round one, Sunday’s victory marked the first time the Saints had started a season 2-0.

“The challenge today was ‘can we back it up and can we find that desire to compete again?'” Dal Santo said.

“I sit here right now really comfortable and really proud of how the group now has put in two solid performances to start the season.”

Caitlin Greiser (three goals), Kate Shierlaw (two) and Jessica Matin (two) hit the scoreboard while rebounding defender Bianca Jakobsson (21 disposals, eight intercepts).

The Saints’ midfield benefited from Erin McKinnon’s ruck dominance but Hawthorn’s Tilly Lucas-Rodd (20 disposals, 14 tackles) was excellent.

Shierlaw’s opener, two clever snaps from Matin and Greiser’s first of the day kicked the Saints out to an imposing 27-point lead at quarter-time.

In the second term, Van Dyk’s left leg buckled as her kick was smothered by Dominique Carbone, a play which started the counterattack that led to Gilroy snapping the Hawks’ only goal.

Shortly after, Greiser kicked the goal of the day when she gathered the ball in the pocket and brilliantly dribbled home.

Hawthorn huffed and puffed in the second half but St Kilda put the foot down to add extra padding to the final margin.

“We know that this year is going to be one of those seasons where we just have to lay our foundations and get that love and care for each other right,” Goddard said.

“It certainly hurt when two of our leaders and really experienced players go down early in the game.”

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