Hawthorn onballer Sam Mitchell apologised for his mock injection gesture towards Essendon players on Saturday, but he must still await the outcome of an AFL review.
It is expected that Mitchell will find out on Monday if he will be fined by the AFL for bringing the game into disrepute.
Mitchell stirred up a storm of controversy when he made a mock injecting gesture aimed at the Bombers’ players in the Hawks’ 38-point win at the MCG, a clear reference to the club’s 2012 supplements scandal.
James Hird called the action “naive and idiotic” after the match, and he wasn’t the only person lining up to take a swipe at Mitchell.
Teammate Jordan Lewis suggested he was annoyed the attention from Hawthorn’s fourth-straight win had centred on Mitchell, who apologised directly after the match.
“I think it’s unfortunate we’re talking about that rather than a pretty good win,” Lewis told the Sunday Footy Show.
“There’s always going to be people for and against (making that type of gesture).
“He’s come out and I think he’s done the right thing and apologised.”
Essendon tall Jake Carlisle put himself firmly in the ‘no’ camp when asked about it on Sunday morning.
The swingman, who was in a moonboot with an ankle injury at the club’s training base, said some banter was fine but this crossed the line.
“It’s alright pointing at the scoreboard,” Carlisle told AFL Game Day.
“It’s a game of footy, you’re not there to do stuff like that.”
Mitchell gave an interview with Fox Footy after the game when he expressed his regret, saying it was a bad look for the game.
Lewis did support his fellow premiership midfielder, saying incidents like these came when you played at the very highest intensity.
Hawthorn improved their win-loss to 8-4 with the victory, while Essendon’s fourth straight loss took them to 4-8 and turned up the heat on Hird, who faces a fight to keep his job according to Essendon great Mark Thompson.
When asked on 3AW if he felt there was “an inevitability” about Hird’s situation, Thompson replied, “I think so and I think James knows that.”
Thompson said that he felt sorry for Hird, who always faced a tough task to step back into the senior coaching role that Thompson vacated after he returned from his 12-month ban for his part in the 2012 supplements scandal.
“It was always going to be hard, wasn’t it?” Thompson said.
“There’s a fair bit of power and weight around the football world that don’t want him in the job and he knows that. Eventually it (Hird losing his job) will happen, I think.”
The other two games on Saturday saw Adelaide come from behind to defeat Brisbane at the Gabba and the Western Bulldogs outlast the plucky Saints at Etihad Stadium.
Gold Coast’s season went from bad to worse on Sunday when allegations of cocaine use by current players were made by ex-Sun Karmichael Hunt.
The Suns announced they will undertake an internal review in a bid to try to get to the bottom of the matter just hours before they suffered a 34-point loss at the hands of fellow strugglers Carlton.
In Friday night action, Richmond reinforced their reputation as road warriors when they defeated the high-flying Swans at the SCG, while Fremantle kicked off the round with a narrow win over a spirited Collingwood side at Subiaco.