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I've failed my Hawks: Kennett

Date

Matt Murnane

Jeff Kennett in the Hawthorn rooms after the grand final.

Jeff Kennett in the Hawthorn rooms after the grand final. Photo: Paul Rovere

FORMER Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has apologised to the club's members and says he feels he has failed them after the Hawks fell agonisingly short of achieving the ''Five 2 Fifty'' plan first launched under his presidency.

Having already attained one of the key elements of the vision announced at the end of 2007 - more than 50,000 members - the Hawks needed to defeat Sydney on Saturday to fulfil the second goal, a second premiership within the five-year time-frame.

Kennett admitted the 10-point defeat was ''clearly a lost opportunity'' given he believes Hawthorn was the best team during the season.

Although ''deeply wounded'' by the result, Kennett said he was not angry - as he was after last year's preliminary final capitulation against Collingwood - because ''Sydney were without a doubt the better team on the day''.

''We earned the right to play in a grand final, which is not an easy thing to do and I've been very proud with what the team has delivered, but on the day we were beaten by a better unit,'' Kennett said yesterday.

''And that means that the objective of the 'Five 2 Fifty' plan was not achieved and I apologise to the members for that because I feel as though I've failed, and we've failed to deliver.''

Alastair Clarkson's men led by 12 points at the 11-minute mark of the final quarter before being overrun by the Swans, causing some Hawks supporters to wonder whether having less time than Sydney to recover from the previous week's preliminary finals was a factor.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou conceded Hawthorn had been dealt a poor hand in fixturing, forced to play its preliminary final nearly a day later than Sydney despite being minor premier.

Usually the highest-placed team at the end of the home and away season is granted the Friday night preliminary final slot but, given Sydney's ANZ Stadium was booked for an NRL preliminary final on the Saturday, the Swans' game against Collingwood was brought forward.

While stressing that less recovery time was no excuse, Kennett admitted he was surprised that the AFL decided to abandon the formula that gives the higher-placed team more recovery time.

''Certainly I think a lot of people were very surprised at how the AFL decided to reward the team that finished on top,'' Kennett said.

''But there is no point crying now, there is no point in pointing the blame at anyone else but ourselves.

''You don't know what the AFL are going to do. The whole system of the order of where teams are finishing the year and recognising that achievement was overturned by the AFL for reasons of their own.

''But that, in itself, did not cost us the game on Saturday.''

Even though clubs go to extraordinary lengths to optimise recovery time between games during the season, Hawthorn has been steadfast in refusing to blame the preliminary final fixturing.

''You still won't get that as an excuse from us,'' Hawks football manager Mark Evans said the day after the grand final.

Kennett said reaching the grand final again next year ''won't be an easy task'' for Hawthorn.

''No one can be confident of playing in that last day of September, every team is now having to go back to scratch, start again and earn the right,'' he said.

''I would like to think we would perform well, but there is a lot of work to be done before we get there.''

99 comments

  • Dear Jeff,
    The day you stepped down as president was the day I renewed my Hawthorn membership.
    I missed being a member and also not being at the G in 2008 but the principle of it was more important to me.
    In spite of your overly inflated opinion of yourself, you are not the main game. The coach and the players are.
    Please, shut up and go away and let the club get on QUIETLY with its life.

    Commenter
    Captain Grumpy
    Location
    Kingsville
    Date and time
    October 02, 2012, 8:13AM
    • The people commenting on this article are pretty pathetic. Jeff put into place the right foundation for success which certainly was not there under previous regimes dating back to the early 90s. The team then fell agonisingly short of achieving an amazing 2 premierships in 4 years (in addition to the membership reaching 50k) and all you people can do is criticise him.

      I think it might have more to do with his political background than what he achieved as president.

      Captain Grumpy - you are only buying a membership now? About 20k additional people decided to buy a membership during Jeff's reign, so you are a bit late to the party arent you? To miss a premiership celebration because of that - pretty poor.

      Commenter
      Simon
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 9:12AM
    • Amazing how Jeff has to turn everything around to be about him. Now he's taking the blame for something that wasn't his fault just so he can be at the centre of attention again. Grow up Jeff!

      Commenter
      Squawk
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 9:25AM
    • Ian Dicker put in the foundation Jeff continued the good work but he didn't lay the foundation. He did a top job in the boardroom but no doubt his vanity with needing to be in the media spotlight was a negative for the club.

      Commenter
      Kilkenny
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 9:39AM
    • Ian Dicker set the Hawks up for the success they are enjoying now. Jeff did not stuff it up but Dicker is the one that should be thanked. If you think Jeff is the one to thank then you have fallen for his grandstanding, He and Joffa have a lot in common in the self-promotion stakes.

      Commenter
      Get it right
      Location
      VFL Park
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 9:46AM
    • Jeff you are a legend and the substantial silent majority remain eternally grateful to you for setting Victoria back on the path to prosperity.

      Commenter
      Gatsby
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 10:11AM
    • The man's vanity knows no bounds.
      He turns the GF loss in to story about himself.
      I've had a kennet of a day too but I will just get on with it.

      Commenter
      nkelly
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 10:20AM
    • Jeff let his Hawks down?

      I think its more like the choking Hawks let everyone associated with their club down by losing the un-losable grand final...

      2007, 2009, 2011, 2013

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 10:35AM
    • Please, Captain Grumpy,
      Shut up and go away and let the club get on QUIETLY with its life. We don't need such narrow minded members as yourself.
      Oh and please do every Hawks fan a favour and don't renew, thank you.

      Commenter
      rich
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 10:39AM
    • Rich - I don't think getting on quietly with life is part of the Hawthorn agenda...

      Showboat Sammy and Lance "Buddy" Franklin won't stand for it...

      Less showboating and new t-shirt lines and more hard work and maybe you'll have some success.

      2007, 2009, 2011, 2013

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 02, 2012, 1:23PM

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