War of words breaks out ahead of the much-anticipated AFL clash.
It was always a game that would produce a stunning sub-plot and Hawthorn Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson has taken a swipe at former star player Lance Franklin.
Franklin left the Hawks last off-season to link with the Sydney Swans on a mega-deal over 10 years and Clarkson he knows he has to answer questions about Franklin given his stunning form over the past two months.
However, Clarkson said ‘Buddy’ was now a “faceless man” in how his side is viewing him as they try and stop the Swans’ attacking style of play this weekend.
There has also been speculation as to how the Hawks’ faithful will react seeing one of their former beloved stars wearing red and white.
“Supporters can do whatever they like. We can’t control that. All we can control is playing against 22 opposition and that’s what we are going to do,” Clarkson said.
” ‘Bud’ has been a really, really valuable member of this footy club for a long period of time but as of October or November of last year, he is wearing a red-and-white jumper now, so he is a faceless man in a sense from our point of view. We appreciate and respect everything he did for our club footy, but we move on.”
Sydney has recalled Kurt Tippett for the clash which means the Hawks’ defence will have to divide its time between him and Franklin, opening up the possibility for them both finding their way to goal.
Clarkson admitted the Swans can blow sides apart inside of a quarter if they have the run of play, something he was quietly confident his backline could avoid.
“Hopefully, we will be able to hold their front end because they have been really powerful. But if they get a lot of supply through the middle of the ground, it’s like any game, then they are going to cause some damage irrespective of who our personalities are in the back end,” Clarkson said.
“We just have to make sure we give ourselves every chance through the middle of the ground.”