Top Hawk okay for an Eagles’ AFL triumph

He’s the Hawthorn president who would be pleased if West Coast won the premiership and delighted Sam Mitchell missed out on the Brownlow Medal.

But Andrew Newbold is no football socialist; happy with Hawthorn’s trophy cabinet and keen to share the silverware around.

Make no mistake, the top Hawk wants to see his club triumph on Saturday, in their fourth grand final in his four years as president.

He just can’t help but admire the Eagles’ rise from obscurity to the final match of the season.

From coach Adam Simpson, who left his assistant post at Hawthorn in 2013 to coach the Eagles, to his opposite number in the boardroom, Newbold sees in West Coast a well-run club deserving of admiration.

“I shouldn’t probably say this but I’d be really pleased if they won it,” he said.

“I have enormous respect for them … (chairman) Alan Cransberg, who’s been in the job eight years, has really turned that place around.

“Simmo’s a great coach. If he can do it in the second year, it’d be a great achievement.

“Obviously, I’m desperate for our club to win it but, if they (Eagles) were to win it, you won’t hear any complaints out of me.”

Newbold said what made Hawthorn’s achievement in reaching the 2015 grand final special was the adversity the club had overcome.

The club was rocked when star forward Jarryd Roughead was diagnosed with a melanoma on his lip in July, then the death of assistant coach Brett Ratten’s son Cooper the following month.

Newbold believes no matter the outcome on Saturday afternoon, the club could be proud of their season.

“Are we better than we were last year? Yes, I think we are,” he said.

“How do we measure that? By things like how we’ve reacted to Cooper Ratten’s death …. Roughy with a cancer scare – not necessarily whether we win the cup or not.

“I think this group has responded when things matter the most.”

As for enjoying Mitchell’s Brownlow Medal plight, Newbold says he only has the greater good in mind.

After polling 26 votes in this year’s count, five short of medallist Nat Fyfe, Mitchell has become the highest vote-winner of all time without a Brownlow of his own.

Newbold said the grand final-week award could have been a millstone rather than a medal around the star midfielder’s neck.

“Secretly, I was happy he didn’t win it because I reckon it’s a distraction,” he said.

“I said to him after the count, ‘mate, the medal that counts is this Saturday’ and he said ‘yeah’.

“Individual accolades are great but really what we want is for the whole club to enjoy accolades.”

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