‘An insult’: Kennett takes aim at Fyfe, defends AFL
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has taken aim at dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe for suggesting the AFL shouldn't restart the season "at all costs", claiming the comments were insulting to league chief executive Gillon McLachlan and his executive.
A long-time critic of the AFL, Kennett said yesterday McLachlan was doing an extraordinary job in a complex ever-changing situation in a effort to kick-start the 2020 season.
He took offence at Fyfe's warning on Perth's Channel 7 that the AFL needed to ensure it had the right model to resume from the financially-crippling coronavirus shutdown.
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"For anyone to suggest the AFL and the executive are not working 25 hours a day, when the players and coaches are fundamentally at rest - and some of us are not putting the best interests of the code and the players to the fore - I consider to be an insult," Kennett told the Sunday Herald Sun.
"I've been a pretty strong critic of the AFL from time to time. But I have been very disturbed at some of the comments that have been made by some of the players and some of the coaches as a result of the briefing by the AFLPA with the players.
"(That) led Fyfe of Fremantle to make some comments ... he (said he was) hoping the AFL was 'thinking carefully' about this.
"Can I just say I don't think the players or the coaches fully understand the difficulties and intricacies of getting the AFL code back on the playing field."
Kennett, who is a member of the AFL's coronavirus war cabinet, said he had been "privileged" to work alongside McLachlan and the rest of the AFL executive.
"I have never known an organisation to be so committed to try to get the back back on the ground in the interests of our supporters, our members, the media, etc," he said.
"I haven't been the AFL's greatest supporter. But I can't fault their workload. I know what they are trying to do.'
The Hawks boss said he was hopeful fans might even be allowed back late in the season, though he remained cautious about the path ahead.
"We have to continue to contain the spread of this virus," he said.
"If the virus breaks out again, then that would make a lot of the work the AFL officials have been doing as wasted time."
Originally published as 'An insult': Kennett takes aim at Fyfe, defends AFL