HAWK BOWS OUT
MELBOURNE have apologised for young midfielder Clayton Oliver’s “unprofessional” reaction to a sledge from a Carlton supporter.
The 19- year- old was accused of threatening the Blues supporter after a brief but animated exchange on the boundary fence during the second term of Sunday’s AFL match at the MCG.
Reports circulated that the supporter had labelled Oliver a “weak c ...” and a “diver”.
But the Demons yesterday afternoon said Oliver had accepted fault over the incident and acknowledged that no profanities had been used.
“Clayton has let his emotions get the better of him and should not have reacted in the manner that he did,” football boss Josh Mahoney said.
“As a club, we apologise for the offence caused and Clayton understands this should not occur again.
“We have spoken to Clayton and the entire playing group regarding their interaction with the crowd and that no positives come out of any immediate response. If the player feels that he was vilified in any way, there is a process to report that to the AFL and have it investigated.”
Mahoney said it was disappointing that the incident had stolen the headlines after Melbourne’s win against Carlton.
The AFL also investigated the incident, with a spokesman yesterday saying it was the league’s view that players “should not engage with the crowd in such a manner at any time”.
Oliver was widely criticised for his reaction to high contact from West Coast’s Will Schofield a fortnight ago.
Schofield was offered a one- week ban by the match review panel but the Eagles successfully challenged the sanction at the tribunal.
Oliver denied he was a “faker” in post- match comments, and later took to Twitter to bite back at former Test cricketer Damien Martyn, who implied Oliver had taken a dive. LUKE Hodge is a country bumpkin, the fat and slow one who would have been a Colac garbo without his AFL career.
Hodge had no argument when those unflattering — and highly amusing — assessments were raised at yesterday’s retirement announcement. After all, who cares? Hodge is also one of the greatest players in AFL history.
The former Hawthorn captain and four- time premiership star has confirmed this is his last season.
He made the announcement ahead of his 300th game this Saturday against fierce rivals Geelong.
It will mark the end of an era, with Hodge the last of the three priority picks who highlighted the 2001 super draft.
Hodge was No. 1 ahead of St Kilda and Collingwood star Luke Ball, with West Coast and Carlton great Chris Judd next — all premiership players. Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson sat next to Hodge at yesterday’s media conference and was merciless.
“I wouldn’t have thought you were going to be the last one left,” Clarkson offered when Hodge was asked about 2001. Hodge replied: “My uncle actually summed it up when Juddy retired — ‘ who would have guessed the fat, slow one is still going?’ ”
Hodge remembered former Hawks fitness coach Andrew Russell calling him the most unprofessional person that Russell had seen.
Hodge was asked what he might have been without an AFL career. That was the cue for Clarkson to offer “Colac garbo”.
“That got a few more laughs than I wanted,” Hodge said.
And the Colac kid had to learn the hard way, with Clarkson nominating Hodge’s 21st birthday as the key light bulb moment.
Hodge missed training the following Monday and suspended for one game.
“His ( Clarkson’s) words were ‘ the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but we have a bigger picture here that we have to look towards’ and I couldn’t argue with him at all,” Hodge said.
The Hawks coach said Hodge became a once- in- ageneration player, renowned above all else for putting his club and teammates first.
Clarkson, himself from Ballarat in rural Victoria, called him a country bumpkin half in jest, half in admiration for Hodge’s solid values.
He noted that Hodge turned a potential 200- game career into 300 with how well he has looked after himself in the last few years.
“He’s benefited from that, but so has our footy club, enormously,” Clarkson said. was