Luke Hodge will miss the Hawks' opening round clash against Essendon after being banned by his team's leadership group.
Luke Hodge will miss the Hawks' opening round clash against Essendon after being banned by his team's leadership group. JULIAN SMITH

Clarkson defends suspension of Hodge

AFL: Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has revealed he was not part of the decision to suspend former captain Luke Hodge for round one.

Hodge was banned by the Hawks' leadership group for "failing to meet club standards" in not adequately informing officials he would miss training.

The ban has left some questioning Hawthorn's decision, given its failure to suspend Hodge (pictured) in 2015 for drink-driving on the eve of the finals series.

Clarkson, who said he supported the decision to suspend the premiership captain, revealed why Hodge was suspended this time.

"One's being treated by the law and one's been treated by our footy club," he said on radio on Tuesday.

"The one treated by the law is no different to you or anyone else having a drink. He didn't actually do anything. He's allowed to have a drink - he wasn't playing at the time.

"In terms of all the protocols we have at our footy club, he didn't go outside of them except in regard to the law and the law said that he'd tipped slightly over the edge in terms of having that drink.

"In terms of compliance with what we establish at our footy club, he didn't step outside that and that's why this one he did, albeit they say, 'oh gee you've got to be kidding' in terms of what he did - there wasn't too much in the one last week and there seemed to be more in the other one.

"But according to what we rate our players on in terms of their trademark and what they're expected to do, that one (missing training) was outside our boundaries."

Last September, Hodge was caught driving home from a poker night with friends when stopped by police, blowing 0.068 just days before Hawthorn began its finals campaign.

He was fined $450 by police and lost 10 demerit points, but was not punished further by the club.

As part of his suspension, Hodge was withdrawn from Hawthorn's final JLT Series match against Port Adelaide and played for VFL affiliate Box Hill in a practice game at Ikon Park on Friday night.

He will be eligible for selection for Hawthorn's round two clash against Adelaide at the MCG.

News Corp Australia


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