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Footy Fix: high-flying Hawks target Bombers

Rohan Connolly previews the Essendon Hawthorn clash this weekend, plus the rest of the round 18 action.

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OK, we’ll have to leave it there, everyone. A few technical glitches today, so apologies to anyone who had trouble leaving a question or comment. Back to normal next week. Catch us back here at noon.

Alastair Clarkson has been in a lot of people’s sights in the past week, and his portrayal as public enemy No.1 can hardly be justified.

Last weekend, while coaching the Hawks, he became so agitated he managed to put his hand through a plaster wall in the coaches' box. The next day, while acting as a runner for his son's under-nine team, he told a 19-year-old umpires' coach to "f... off" after being ordered off the ground.

The dust now appears to have settled and Clarkson has been dealt with, but the unforgivable low point in the saga was the dusting off of 25-year-old footage of Clarkson belting Ian Aitken from behind in 1987 - and having Aitken respond yet again.

What, exactly, does the mob want? A fourth or fifth apology. A tearful recantation. A set of stocks and some rotten tomatoes? OK, he stuffed up, but is there any chance of a little perspective?

What are your thoughts?

We hear far too much about the latest twists in Travis Cloke's contract negotiations. We don't hear nearly enough about another AFL key forward who gets the job done without nearly as much fanfare and with a fraction of the fuss.

Drew Petrie has shown several times in his career a capacity to turn on a burst of goals, but never at such a critical moment as Sunday's five in the last quarter against Richmond. This was the one that may well have earned his team a finals spot. And it was the circumstances, as much as the result, which spoke volumes.

If North does make it to the finals, Drew Petrie would have been in no small way responsible.