Hodge comes to Clarkson’s defence as new allegations claim mistreatment of Sam Mitchell

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has been dragged into the allegations of mistreatment of First Nations players by Alastair Clarkson during his time at the Hawks, with claims emerging the former star was also on the receiving end.

According to The Age’s Caroline Wilson, Clarkson is alleged to have instructed Mitchell to hand in his mobile phone during a mid-season interstate game alongside the rest of the team, despite his daughter being in a vulnerable state of health back in Melbourne.

Wilson goes on to report that Clarkson publicly announced Mitchell was missing a game against Richmond due to health concerns over his twin children, without Mitchell or wife Lyndall’s consent, before agreeing to be more respectful when confronted at the end of the season.

“The majority of the former players contacted stressed that Clarkson saw himself as a father figure at the club who, while at times overstepping the mark in interfering in their personal lives, firmly believed he was prioritizing the best interests of his footballers,” Wilson writes .

Clarkson has fully denied any accusations of wrongdoing since the allegations first emerged in grand final week.

The latest allegations as former Hawthorn triple-premiership captain Luke Hodge released a statement strongly defending Clarkson and Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, who was also heavily implicated by an ABC report into the claims, as well as then-Hawks player development manager Jason Burt.

Taking to Twitter, Hodge wrote that while ‘honest truths’ were part and parcel of his relationship with Clarkson and Fagan, they came ‘exclusively from a place of love’.

He also noted that he could not confirm or deny the ‘confronting accusations’ made against the pair.

“Alastair Clarkson shaped me into the person I am today,” Hodge wrote.

“Inheriting a bit of a brat from Colac, he was never afraid to give me the honest truths that I needed. At times it was hard to hear but it came exclusively from a place of love and care for me and my future.

“Then when [wife] Lauren and I started a family he was the one I turned to. He has always shared his own stories and helped me to be comfortable in my own skin.

“Such is the trust and belief that I have in Chris Fagan that as a person, I moved my whole family interstate solely because he was leading that club [Brisbane]. He is the most extraordinary mentor and confidant. I am just so proud and not one bit surprised of the culture he has created and what he has built in Brisbane.

“The work Jason Burt did to help young and not so young players transition in and out of footy was simply tireless.

“I know people will have their own opinions on what I’m saying, but I just had to show support in a tough time for those that did exactly that for me throughout the more challenging moments of my life.

“My experience with each of these men is that they only ever wanted the best for me and my family and I wish them well in what is an extremely challenging time for everyone involved.”

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