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Clarko defends "tough decisions" as Hawks look to the future


Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson says the shock decisions to trade Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis reflects the need to rebuild after winning four AFL premierships.

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The Hawks yesterday granted Lewis a trade to Melbourne, who offered the 30-year-old a three-year deal after being approached by his management about a possible move.

Lewis was keen to play out his career with the Hawks but was told by Clarkson in a “difficult” post-season conversation, his spot couldn’t be guaranteed beyond next year.

Clarkson said the Hawks’ list profile meant they were unable to provide long-term security to the veteran pair.

“We put together a group of players that has produced some outstanding football and gone about their work to create one of the most exciting eras this footy club has ever seen,” he told the Hawks’ website.

“That can’t last forever, though. At some point in time tough decisions need to be made in terms of looking to the future as well.”

Like Mitchell, who was effectively traded to West Coast in exchange for pick No.88, Lewis will depart for a bargain basement deal.

The Demons will gain the 2014 All-Australian along with picks 57 and 68 in exchange for picks 48 and 66.

Clarkson said Hawthorn’s list would be bolstered by the addition of former Sydney onballer Tom Mitchell and ruckman-forward Ty Vickery from Richmond.

While discussions remain fraught, the Hawks remain in the box seat to secure Gold Coast midfielder Jaeger O’Meara, with Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro conceding the Bombers were unlikely to land the prized 22-year-old.

In other player movement news on the sixth day of the AFL trade period:

*Western Bulldogs premiership defender Joel Hamling was traded to Fremantle in exchange for pick 35, after he requested a move home to WA

*Brisbane midfielder Pearce Hanley joined Gold Coast in a three-way AFL trade with Port Adelaide, while Lions defender Darcy Gardiner signed a new three-year deal

*Essendon said a deal to send Michael Hibberd to Melbourne had stalled, with the Demons reluctant to part with a second-round pick in this year’s draft

*Sydney ruckman Toby Nankervis was reportedly set to seek a trade to Richmond

*Greater Western Sydney forward James Stewart requested an AFL trade to Essendon after playing just one senior game in 2016




*Hawthorn lose 571 games of experience with Lewis and Sam Mitchell departing

*For Lewis the Hawks only receive upgraded third and fourth-round selections

*It helps clear up salary cap space to target Gold Coast young gun Jaeger O’Meara, and suitably accommodate recruits Tom Mitchell and Ty Vickery

*Hawthorn could also be building a war chest for next year, when Fremantle star Nat Fyfe and Richmond’s Dustin Martin become restricted free agents

*The Hawks much-needed midfield rebuild can begin – they finished dead last in contested possessions in 2016


*The Demons finally have enough talent on their list to return to the finals

*Lewis could be the cherry on top after key re-signings and players took giant steps up in class in 2016

*The versatile veteran should combine beautifully with Jack Viney, captain Nathan Jones and rising stars Dom Tyson, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw

*Premiership-winning experience to complement Melbourne’s promise


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