Hawks, Clarkson apologise to umpire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks, Clarkson apologise to umpire

31/07/2008 03:34:22 PM Comments (0)

This time, there was no fun intended.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson's last word on the tongue-in-cheek umpiring sledge which cost him $5,000 was an apology from both him and his AFL club to the umpire involved.

Clarkson said he and the Hawks had formally apologised to umpire Justin Schmitt over remarks made in a post-match media conference following Hawthorn's 11-point loss to Geelong last weekend.

"I should have handled it in the same way I'm going to handle it right now - not say too much about it," Clarkson said.

"The regulations are there and I stepped outside the line. I was out of line. We made an apology ... and I'll cop my whack."

Clarkson said of Schmitt in his media conference: "He's a good player for the Cats that No.17, wasn't he? He's a ripper."

Schmitt had the No.17 umpire's shirt on. There were no players wearing No.17 on either team.

But the AFL failed to see any humour in the comments and hit Clarkson in the hip pocket, with the threat of a bigger fine should he transgress again.

The issue has overshadowed the Hawks' build-up to a second finals-type match in successive weeks.

After the premiers, sixth-placed Collingwood await the third-placed Hawks at the MCG on Friday night - both sides having lost their past two games and eager to re-right wobbling finals ships.

Clarkson said despite the Magpies' indifferent form - especially last weekend in an eight-goal thrashing by Essendon - he was expecting a "fierce and brutal battle".

"All I can go by are the games we play against them and they're always a fierce contest. We don't expect anything different," Clarkson said.

"They'd obviously be disappointed with their last two performances, and we've lost our last two as well so we're in the same boat."

Clarkson was also keen to again put to rest talk over star forward Lance Franklin's wayward kicking, saying he was "sick of talking about it".

Franklin kicked four goals from nine scoring shots against the Cats, once more spotlighting what appears the only weakness in arguably the game's most exciting player.

"He makes an enormous contribution in terms of the role he plays for our side," Clarkson said.

"It's a nice topic for everyone to focus on but it's over-exaggerated from my point of view.

"I reckon there'd be 15 other clubs in the competition that would want a player like that in their side. So as long as he plays his role and makes a contribution for us we're pleased with his output."

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