Clarkson says Kennett furore is theatre - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarkson says Kennett furore is theatre

By Roger Vaughan 14/08/2010 02:08:16 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has dismissed the controversy surrounding president Jeff Kennett as "theatre", but is deadly-serious ahead of Sunday's must-win AFL match.

Losses to Port Adelaide and Sydney in the past fortnight mean the Hawks are eighth going into the match against Melbourne at the MCG.

The much-improved Demons are 10th, only one game and percentage behind the Hawks with three rounds until the finals.

Kennett issued one of his notorious letters to Hawks members after last weekend's loss to Sydney, saying the team was out-coached and out-played.

In response to Kennett's tirade, current captain Sam Mitchell and former skipper Shane Crawford then strongly defended the team.

"All that stuff is theatre, really - we just need to put our heads down and get the job done tomorrow," Clarkson said at Saturday training.

"Whether it was out-coached, out-played, out-skilled - whenever you lose, you're all of those things.

"Whenever you win, you've done that to the opposition, I take that with a grain of salt.

"We were poor on all fronts last week and we need to do something about that tomorrow."

The Hawks made five changes, recalling Campbell Brown, Carl Peterson, Wayde Skipper, Rhan Hooper and Brendan Whitecross.

"We've made some changes that will hopefully help us get better and play a better brand of footy than what we did especially last week, but also the week before against Port," Clarkson said.

"When you're performing like we have the last two weeks, you need to inject a little bit of enthusiasm and spark."

The Hawks have owned Melbourne of late, winning their past five matches.

Most recently, they pounded the Demons in the first half for a 56-point win in round one.

But the circumstances have changed drastically since then.

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey said it was critical that his side used the ball well against the Hawks, saying turnovers had been a big issue.

"I think our turnovers are the things that have really hurt us against the Hawks," he said.

"Last year's game, but certainly the first game this year, our turnovers in the first half were horrendous and they just scored easy goals.

"I can still see a ball getting kicked back inside to Carl Peterson running inside 50 and kicking a goal.

"I can see a couple of the Hawthorn blokes running into an open goal from round one - it's more the turnover element that's really cost us against them."

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