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AFL chief supports Clarkson, Hawks

By Roger Vaughan 06/06/2008 06:12:17 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn and their coach Alastair Clarkson have received support from AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou following a nightmare week for the league's top side.

In a reasonably quiet news week around the league, Clarkson has incurred the media's wrath for his expletive-laden vent at a Tasmanian journalist soon after the loss last Saturday to the Western Bulldogs.

Also on the weekend, Hawks star Lance Franklin was allegedly involved in an incident at a Melbourne nightclub.

The Hawks have vigorously defended Franklin against allegations of misbehaviour.

"The club has been in contact with the AFL, which has been a pleasing thing in recent years, that all clubs keep the AFL informed of what's going on," Demetriou told the Fairfax Radio Network when asked about Franklin.

"Obviously, there are two varying accounts of what happened.

"It highlights again the importance - and I'm not saying whether `Buddy' Franklin did say what he (is alleged to have) said - ... of how you've got to behave in public, particularly if you're an AFL player.

"Hawthorn have handled it well ... based on the fact there are two varying accounts, and taking all things on balance, the message has got through."

Demetriou had sympathy for Clarkson, whose confrontation with the journalist happened immediately after the post-game media conference in Launceston.

The league boss was unhappy that the television cameras covering the media conference had kept rolling to record Clarkson's tirade.

"Honestly, I've got sympathy for Alastair Clarkson this week, in the first case I just think it's inappropriate that you roll cameras when a press conference is finished," he said.

"There are some things that I think are just not cricket."

Clarkson joked at the start of his weekly media conference on Friday morning that he was on "my best behaviour".

"We live and learn and move on," he said.

"I'm not of the view that we need to change things enormously, but certainly I need to tweak a few things here and there."

The Hawks coach added the controversies involving himself and Franklin had not distracted the team ahead of Saturday night's match against Essendon.

"The players have been able to divorce themselves a fair bit from what has gone on," he said.

"I've been a bit battered and bruised in the press, I was wishing there was a Hall Of Fame game in the middle of the week, it would have deflected the attention a bit.

"Nothing has changed in terms of how we've prepared for this game."

Clarkson described Franklin as "tremendously resilient" and said this was not the first time he had endured this sort of media attention.

He added the unwanted focus on Franklin was why he made a point of not talking up his star forward, the most exciting player in the league.

"Part of the reason I don't want heavy focus on one particular player is because of the team element of our game, but also it creates too much hysteria around one player," Clarkson said.

"Attention outside of football becomes too great a focus on any one player or group of players.

"It's unhealthy for the player, it's unhealthy for the club and in a lot of instances I think it's unhealthy for the game."

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