Hawks fine with fired-up AFL star Sicily

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has backed James Sicily after the defender was involved in several heated confrontations during a heavy AFL loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Once renowned as one of the AFL's most volatile players, Sicily has matured in recent years and is regarded as a future club captain.

But the 27-year-old cut a frustrated figure at times during the Hawks' 42-point defeat on Friday night and was involved in a series of scuffles with opponents.

Sicily snatched Aaron Naughton's headband in one incident, which led to a melee, and later came off second best when he tried to bump Marcus Bontempelli.

The pair wrestled close to fans on the fence and the clash sparked a fierce response from Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore.

"I don't think it was an issue," Mitchell said of Sicily's fiery display.

"In the game with him (Sicily), I think he's handling those situations really well over the journey.

"Maybe five years ago or four years ago, he didn't so much.

"He'd sort of gone away from that for a year or so, then he's missed a year (through injury) and now he's back.

"He's been a really important player for us and continues to be, so I'm not concerned about it."

The Sicily-Naughton incident happened after the Bulldogs had kicked 11 consecutive goals to take a firm grip on proceedings.

"For the most part, I think he (Sicily) was not at his best tonight but we needed something in that moment and he produced it," Mitchell said.

"I haven't actually seen the vision, so I didn't know that he pulled his headband off, but I knew there was a bit of a scuffle a couple of times.

"I'd rather that than nothing."

A renowned sledger, Liberatore later suggested he had been encouraging Sicily during their final-quarter exchange.

"I was just reiterating, 'Keep your head up, there's always next week, stay positive'," Liberatore told ABC radio post-match.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting