'Your club is a mess': Jeff Kennett email sparks Hawthorn chaos

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett emailed members telling them to prepare for trade 'surprises'.
Jeff Kennett has walked back comments he made in an email to Hawthorn club members, telling then they may be 'surprised' by the club's off-season moves. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Hawthorn club president Jeff Kennett has had to backtrack on an email sent to club members on Thursday evening, in which he said fans might be 'surprised' at the club's decisions.

Kennett walked back some of what he said in email during a Friday morning radio interview, saying he personally had no inside information as to what the football department had in mind.

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During his interview on SEN however, Kennett said it was sensible to 'forewarn' members of potential moves he said 'might shock us'.

After being one of the most dominant teams throughout the 2010s, the Hawks have regressed somewhat over the past 18 months.

A disappointing seven-win season in 2021 saw Hawthorn miss the finals for the second year in a row.

Longtime head coach Alastair Clarkson stepped down from his role after a bungled succession plan with former star player Sam Mitchell was brought forward by a year.

Mitchell was initially set to share parts of the role with Clarkson in 2022 before taking over full-time in 2023 - but that plan was scrapped after it proved unpopular within the club.

Throughout the post-season trade period there has been speculation the Hawks could be looking to move on from high-profile talent such as Tom Mitchell, Chad Wingard and Jaeger O'Meara, who the club paid a hefty price for in years gone by. 

On SEN, Kennett said nothing was set in stone, saying he wasn't actually aware of any major moves planned in the short term.

“I don’t know that that will happen,” Kennett said.

“I’m just saying if it does, understand it’s made by those people we’ve employed with more football knowledge and skills that we have and they’re doing it in our interests.

“It’s just precaution, it’s just being responsible, it’s really writing about the obvious.”

Jeff Kennett slammed after confusing email to Hawthorn members

Kennett's email to members, combined with Hawthorn's messy coaching transition from Clarkson to Mitchell, has raised plenty of eyebrows in the AFL world.

Amid reports of the club being desperate to fast-track a rebuild into premiership contention, the likes of Jack Gunston and Luke Bruest have also been raised as trade candidates.

Kane Cornes on AFL Trade Radio suggested Hawthorn had put the word out that any player aged over 26 on Hawthorn's list was available for trade, at the right price.

“That may be the surprise (Kennett) was alluding to,” Cornes said.

“We’ve all spoken about Tom Mitchell, we’ve spoken a little bit about Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Gunston and Luke Breust, but 26 and above - if you are of that age you are on the table right now.

“If you put an offer that is satisfactory to Hawthorn, they will trade a player that is 26 and above.”

The Hawks will look radically different next AFL season, with head coach Alastair Clarkson and veteran star Shaun Burgoyne leaving after the 2021 season. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
The Hawks will look radically different next AFL season, with head coach Alastair Clarkson and veteran star Shaun Burgoyne leaving after the 2021 season. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

However, he was also fiercely critical of the club's strategy, calling the club 'a mess' and suggesting members ought to fire up about it.

Cornes said the club had fallen a long way from their triple-premiership success from 2013 to 2015.

“Hawthorn fans, your club is a mess,” he said.

“What is going on with the president releasing an email saying we may be surprised with some of the decisions, then backtracking on radio?

“This is not the way to run a footy club.

“I’m not sure what the strategy is at Hawthorn, but how far they have fallen from such a mighty club ... it’s nothing but a mess.

“They are a club in a bit of trouble, I reckon.”

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