West Coast coach Adam Simpson has been in touch with his North Melbourne and Brisbane counterparts Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan as they face an independent investigation into racism claims during their time at Hawthorn.
The three worked together at the Hawks, while Clarkson was at the helm.
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Simpson is hopeful Clarkson will be given the green light to coach against him in Round 1 in the 2023 AFL season.
“I’ll let them work through it the best they can and support the people behind closed doors,” Simpson said.
“Hopefully they can get some resolution.”
Both strongly deny the allegations levelled against them, which include that a request was made to separate young Indigenous players from their partners and that pressure was applied for a pregnancy to be terminated for the sake of a player’s career.
The findings of the independent investigation were initially expected to be handed down before Christmas, but it has now been set for a later date.
Three-time Hawthorn premiership player Liam Shiels, who this week reversed his decision to retire so he could join North Melbourne as a pre-season supplementary selection, also threw his support behind Clarkson.
“Hopefully both sides get a fair say but I can only speak from my personal experience with Clarko and I’ve had nothing but love, care and respect from him throughout my whole career,” Shiels, who played 242 of his 255 games at Hawthorn under Clarkson, said.
“He’s always had the player’s best interests at heart.”
West Coast are currently dealing with their own controversy, after rookie Isiah Winder was last week allegedly involved in a drunken punch-up in Victoria.
Winder was attending an Indigenous players’ summit in the state, and the physical altercation allegedly occurred while out drinking one night.
The incident came just days after Winder had been given a rookie lifeline by the Eagles following his surprise de-listing by the club at the end of last season.
Police are investigating the incident, and Winder has been demoted to the WAFL program for the time being.
“There’s a police investigation, so we can’t comment on what happened,” Simpson said of Winder, who has played seven games for the Eagles.
“He’s still part of our player group, he just won’t be training with the senior squad at the moment.
“This is a big discussion on him, but he’s a rookie list player, he’s 20 years old and he’s made a mistake.
“He made his way back onto the list through his work ethic and dedication to getting fit.”
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