Hawthorn have defended coach Alastair Clarkson following his physical altercation with a drunken Port Adelaide on Saturday.
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Vision supplied to Channel Seven showed Clarkson being antagonised by a Power fan after the Hawks’ eight-point loss at Adelaide Oval.
The man shouted at Clarkson before the Hawks coach lost his cool and shoved the man in the face with an open palm.
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.”
Clarkson told Channel Seven that he reacted the way he did because he was “fearful” of his safety.
“(I’m) disappointed that I’ve been involved in it but (we were) fearful for our safety, in a sense, with gentlemen that we didn’t know,” Clarkson is quoted as saying by AFL.com.au.
“We knew that they’d been drinking, didn’t know really what their intentions were, we were very, very aware by the dialogue that they were Port Adelaide supporters and just didn’t know where it was going to go.
“We were deeply concerned, particularly as we neared the entrance to the building that they were going to do everything they possibly could to make sure that we stopped.”
Hawthorn looked set to claim an unlikely victory after allowing Port Adelaide to get out to a 58-point lead during the second quarter.
The Hawks then piled on ten goals to the Power’s three to fall short by just eight points in front of a parochial Adelaide Oval crowd.
Clarkson’s men face top-four contenders North Melbourne next Saturday at Etihad Stadium.