Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says he wishes that he had kept his cool after he was harassed by Port Adelaide fans on Saturday.
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Video footage shows the Hawks mentor shoving a Power fan in the face with an open palm after the man continually yelled in his face following Port’s eight-point win at Adelaide Oval.
Clarkson says he holds “regret” over the situation but noted the aggressive nature of the group of the group of fans.
“Over the past 24 hours, I have had time to reflect on an incident in Adelaide that I was involuntarily involved in,” Clarkson is quoted as saying by AAP.
“As a father, coach and leader I acknowledge that I am in a position to set an example for the community.
“Having been confronted and threatened by a group of intoxicated men and after politely asking several times for some space, I regret that I pushed away one particular individual.
“While the behaviour of the group was antagonistic, aggressive and completely unwarranted, I wish that I had continued to walk away and removed myself from the situation.”
Hawks chief executive Stuart Fox told Channel Nine that Clarkson was harassed by “intoxicated” Power fans.
“Alastair was walking back to the hotel with our general manager of football Chris Fagan and (they) came across some intoxicated boys, and Clarko was certainly harassed,” Fox is quoted as saying by AFL.com.au.
“He politely declined to be photographed and (filmed) and the boys just got in his face.
“We tried to get Clarko into the hotel and it was one of those issues that just got a bit ugly.”
The incident followed an emotion-charged clash at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday which saw the Power hold off an incredible late surge by the Hawks to record an eight-point win.
Port Adelaide lead by 58-points during the second quarter, however the Hawks booted 10 goals to Port’s three in the second half to make for a nervy ending for Ken Hinkley’s side.
Clarkson’s men face top-four contenders North Melbourne next Saturday at Etihad Stadium.