Chief executive Justin Reeves has resigned at Hawthorn in the wake of the club’s woeful start to the season.
Reeves announced his departure at a meeting with the Hawthorn board with the team sitting 16th on the ladder after collecting just two wins from their first 10 matches.
The ongoing racism investigation at the club has placed Reeves under pressure even though the alleged incidents occurred before he started his role five years ago.
The Hawks have been divided by factions in recent times following the departure of controversial former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett as president late last year.
Hawthorn are yet to release an official statement about Reeves falling on his sword.
Davis returns to better Magpies club
Ex-Collingwood champion Leon Davis admits he was nervous about taking on a job with the Magpies due to some previous “not so great” experiences.
But the former electric forward believes the AFL powerhouse is now a welcoming and inclusive club for Indigenous people.
Davis and his then teammates Andrew Krakouer and Heritier Lumumba fell out with the Magpies, declaring “nothing has changed” following the 2021 Do Better report into allegations of racism.
Having made peace with the club, Davis is now employed in assisting the Magpies in their attempt to build a culturally safe environment, with Krakouer joining him on a part-time basis.
“I’ve had a lot of great experiences at this club. There were some times that weren’t so great,” Davis said on Wednesday.
“Coming back and sort of not knowing what I was walking back into, as much as I could prepare myself, probably wasn’t going to be enough until I got here and was back day-to-day.
“To be on this journey, and all be together, side-by-side, and all wanting to do better, it’s been fantastic.
“It makes First Nations people’s jobs a lot easier to not do all the work and have that support from non-First Nations people at the club.”
Collingwood have taken major steps to try and heal the wounds of the past, in April this year formally apologising to the St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar and his teammate Gilbert McAdam for the appalling abuse directed at them at Victoria Park in 1993.
Davis stood alongside former teammate Steele Sidebottom on Wednesday, ahead of the midfielder’s 300th game for Collingwood.
Sidebottom will become just the fourth Magpies player to reach the milestone when he runs out against North Melbourne on Sunday.
The pair developed an instant bond when Sidebottom arrived at the club during the 2008 draft, staying close even after Davis retired at the end of 2011.
Sidebottom said he had witnessed major changes off-field during 15 years at Collingwood, and cherished his friendship with Davis.
“I’d love to be able to sit down with someone that doesn’t know about Leon’s culture and be able to give them a story on where he came from and the way he grew up,” Sidebottom said.
Hunter cops ban at tribunal
Melbourne midfielder Lachie Hunter will miss Saturday’s clash with Fremantle at the MCG after failing to have his one-match ban overturned at the AFL Tribunal.
Hunter was reported on the spot for a high bump on Connor Rozee after his right hip collected the sliding Port Adelaide midfielder in the head.
Rozee wasn’t seriously hurt by the incident, but the match review officer deemed Hunter’s forceful front-on contact as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.
Lawyer Adrian Anderson, acting for Melbourne, argued Hunter was contesting the ball and only turned his body to brace for contact at the last moment.
Anderson’s alternative submission was that contact was caused by circumstances out of Hunter’s control given that Rozee lunged forward instead of gathering the ball “in the ordinary fashion”.
Hunter was twice called upon to give evidence during the 90-minute hearing.
“I believe I tried to show duty of care both to my own body and Connor’s,” Hunter said. “I stopped dead in my tracks once I realised there was going to be contact, so that’s the duty of care to Connor.
“Once he makes that lunge forward, you can see me open up my left arm and leg to stop that tap going on. You’d liken it to a goalkeeper in soccer where you try to cover all bases.”
Hunter said putting his head down to contest the ball wasn’t a “feasible option”.
“If I put my head down, I’m every chance to headbutt him in the head,” Hunter said.
When the AFL’s legal counsel Andrew Woods put it to him that he could have simply stepped to the left or the right to avoid contact, Hunter swiftly dismissed it.
“No, because you’re asking me to concede the ball to Port Adelaide,” Hunter said.
“I can’t see any situation where I would just let him tap the ball and let them carry the ball down the field.”
Hunter also dismissed the notion from Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson he could have avoided an injury to his opponent by employing a cradling-type approach as their two bodies collided.
“I don’t think that’s a feasible option. That’s opening myself up to injuries,” Hunter said.
The jury deliberated for 30 minutes before deciding to uphold the charge and the one-match ban that goes with it.
“We find that Hunter was not contesting the ball,” Gleeson said.
“His eyes were on Rozee and not on the ball as he shaped his body sideways.
“Even if we had concluded he was contesting the ball, we found it was not reasonable for him to contest the ball in that way.”
Cats duo struck down by serious injuries
Geelong midfielder Max Holmes will be out for the medium term after undergoing knee surgery, while prized draft pick Jhye Clark has been cut down by a serious foot injury.
Holmes tore the meniscus in his right knee during last week’s loss to Fremantle in Perth.
The 20-year-old underwent surgery on Tuesday and won’t be available until after the club’s mid-season bye.
“Max had been in great form and was really building his game in the early part of the season, so he’ll spend a couple of weeks where he won’t do much and then it’ll really ramp up after that,” Geelong general manager Simon Lloyd told the club’s website.
Clark, the No.8 pick from last year’s national draft, has been diagnosed with a navicular stress reaction in his foot.
No timeline has been set for his return.
Clark made his AFL debut in the round-nine loss to Richmond, but he missed last Saturday’s defeat to Fremantle after reporting soreness earlier in the week.
“Pretty soon he’ll start to weight bare and again,” Lloyd said.
“Particularly with the young players we need to think long term so we’ll be more conservative.”
In better news for the Cats, Ollie Henry (ruptured testicle), Sam De Koning (facial fracture) and Gary Rohan (hamstring) could all be available for Saturday’s home clash with GWS.
Brisbane are set to regain veteran Daniel Rich for Sunday’s match against Adelaide, but in-form defender Jack Payne will miss with concussion.
Rich has missed the past three weeks after injuring his calf in the round-seven win over Fremantle, but he completed full training on Tuesday to prove he is ready for a recall.
Richmond defender Nick Vlastuin is still hopeful of playing in Sunday’s encounter with Port Adelaide at the MCG despite suffering a corked leg in last week’s Dreamtime loss to Essendon.
St Kilda’s Mitch Owens will miss at least a week with concussion after colliding with the knee of teammate Anthony Caminiti in Sunday’s win against the Giants.
But forward Tim Membrey is a chance to return from concussion in Saturday’s match against Hawthorn.
Hawthorn are hopeful to have ruckman Ned Reeves available.
Reeves was subbed out in the third quarter of last week’s win over West Coast with an ankle injury, but he has recovered well from the injury.
“Ned had an incident during the game with his ankle, different to the mid-foot sprain that we were dealing with two weeks ago, so separate incident,” Hawthorn high performance manager Peter Burge said.
“The great news is that he has pulled up really well and he was running today in straight lines with his runners and we anticipate he is going to resume training with the main group on Thursday.”
Gold Coast defender Sean Lemmens will miss about four weeks with a hamstring injury.