'What a joke': Debate erupts over 'embarrassing' AFL booing

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Geelong's Isaac Smith has been greeted with a chorus of boos from Hawthorn fans after the former Hawk switched teams to the arch-rival Cats over the off-season. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Geelong's Isaac Smith has been greeted with a chorus of boos from Hawthorn fans after the former Hawk switched teams to the arch-rival Cats over the off-season. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Hawthorn fans at the MCG have been criticised online for booing former player Isaac Smith, who lined up against the Hawks for the first time after switching to arch-rivals Geelong over the off season.

The annual Easter Monday match between the two teams has produced some of the best football in recent memory, as the long-time premiership rivals did battle in a series of close encounters.

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There was a bit of added heat after Smith switched to Geelong in the off-season, with former teammate Luke Breust admitting in the lead-up to the match that there was no love lost.

“Don’t you worry, there will certainly be a few boys lining up to get him. There will be a fair bit of banter on the field and it will certainly be fun out there,” Breust said.

“If he’s in the road then I’m sure the boys will be pretty happy to clean him up.

“We’ll see how it goes, but he’s going to have his cheeky little grin out there and he’ll certainly be throwing a bit our way, so it will be interesting.”

There wasn't much love for Smith whenever he touched the ball on Monday afternoon, with the packed MCG filled with boos from Hawks fans chiding their former triple-premiership star.

Those boos, for a key player in Hawthorn's premiership success between 2013 and 2015, left some on social media quizzing whether such animosity for an otherwise beloved figure was justified.

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Smith played 210 games and booted 165 goals for Hawthorn, a key cog in a Hawthorn midfield that dominated the early 2010s.

The veteran, who was also a member of Hawthorn's leadership group for several seasons, switched to Geelong as an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season, with Hawthorn bagging a third-round draft pick as compensation for his departure.

Swans in selection squeeze as Buddy back

Sydney coach John Longmire has declared Lance Franklin ready to return for Thursday night's clash with Essendon at the SCG, but picking who to drop looms as a selection headache.

Franklin booted three goals in his long-awaited AFL return in round two, but he was rested for Sydney's shock 45-point win over reigning premiers Richmond on Saturday.

The 34-year-old used the time off to build up his training loads, and barring a setback will be named to return against Essendon.

Hayden McLean made way for Franklin in round two, and he could be the unlucky player to miss out yet again.

Buddy Franklin will be in the frame to play in Thursday night against Essendon, Swans coach John Longmire says. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Buddy Franklin will be in the frame to play in Thursday night against Essendon, Swans coach John Longmire says. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The unbeaten Swans might need to drop two players if midfielder James Rowbottom is ready to return from a knee injury.

Longmire says he will delay making a decision until seeing how everyone pulls up on Wednesday.

"We understand that when you have a good win that it's difficult to put players out of the team," Longmire said on Monday.

"But we are also fully open with our players that he (Franklin) won't be playing every game. We've said that.

"It will be terrific to have Lance back in the team. He's had more training under his belt and he feels good for Thursday. He trained today and he's been pulling up well."

With AAP

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