Garry Lyon has hit out at images of Hawthorn players sharing a laugh with West Coast opponents before and during their match on Sunday, saying it shows the Hawks have lost their formidable aura.
Hawthorn didn’t score their first goal until the six-minute mark of the second quarter, suffering a 12.9 (81) to 7.7 (49) loss at Optus Stadium.
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Hawthorn’s finals hopes are now all but over after slumping to 4-7 on the year.
And according to Melbourne great Lyon, the Hawks’ mindset before the first bounce was telling.
James Frawley could be seen sharing a laugh with West Coast rival Josh Kennedy, while captain Ben Stratton was in a similarly cheeky mood while interacting with Liam Ryan.
“There was a time not that long ago where the Hawthorn Footy Club was the most feared team in the competition and no one wanted to play them,” Lyon said on Fox Footy.
“A - because they were the best team there but they played on an edge and had an edge about them and they became known as the unsociable Hawks.
“Sometimes they teetered over the edge but they wore it as a badge of honour because they made a really hostile environment for any opposition.
“I want to introduce you to a new team. They are the sociable Hawks.”
Lyon said he “hated” seeing the players laughing with each other pre-match.
“What you do now is you wander out as a full forward and you get a little joke, a couple of zingers, a pat on the back, a bit of a rub on the head,” Lyon said.
“I might be outdated, I might be old school - I hated that. I hated seeing it.
“And I understand this year might be the outlier because they’re all living together (in hubs) and they all may be crossing paths but I honestly reckon Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis and Dermott Brereton and all these old blokes are looking at that and, as their team’s getting belted, they come out after half-time when they’re laughing and carrying on with their direct opponent.
“As a forward, if I walked out and my fullback started laughing with me and having a joke, there’s only one winner out of that.
“You want a hostile environment and it was anything but.”
Garry Lyon singles out captain Ben Stratton
Lyon continued his criticism of the Hawks on Melbourne radio on Tuesday, taking aim at Stratton.
“My advice in years gone by would have been take your lead from the leaders in your club, they’ll set the best example for you,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.
“My advice in this instance is don’t. Don’t look at your captain and think, ‘Is this what AFL footy is about, is it?’
“Your captain’s sitting there joking with Liam Ryan who’s just doing what he wants basically on the field and then come out after half-time and there he is having a laugh and a joke with him - don’t take any notice.
“And that’s a harsh thing to say but don’t take any notice of that.”
However Luke Hodge defended his former club, saying “times have changed”.
“You look at Clarko (Alastair Clarkson) last year when they played the Giants. He runs out on the ground in his jocks, Isaac Smith’s out there in his shorts, blokes are out there laughing when it’s snowing,” Hodge said on SEN’s Whateley.
“I can understand what Garry’s saying with doing it towards the opposition and having a joke and a smile but looking at that team, they respond with a chat, they’re easy-going, they’re not that physical, brute team they used to be.
“But it doesn’t look good when you’ve got your defenders joking around with the forwards, especially when you are 40 points down.
“On the flip side, I think Clarko knows how to get his players up. The group they’ve got now is more of a calming influence rather than that physical mindset of crash and bash.”