Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett has opened up on the departure of highly rated assistant coach Brett Ratten.
Ratten is one of the AFL’s most lauded assistant coaches, playing a key role in the Hawks’ three-peat between 2013-15.
However, Kennett has explained how the club needs to keep progressing, even if it means leaving some loved members behind.
SEN’s Time On with Sam McClure can be heard Monday-Wednesday 6-7pm, and you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here
“Brett is an outstanding individual and when you put together teams of people, you don’t like, necessarily, to lose any of them,” Kennett told SEN’s Time On.
“Whether that’s a player or whether it’s a coach or an assistant coach or even some of your administrative staff. The reality is, if you stand still, you fall behind.
“You’ve got to keep refreshing and from time to time, that means that some of those who have to make way for others, you say to yourself, I wish it wasn’t happening.
“So we lost Hodgey (Luke Hodge), we lost (Sam) Mitchell, and of course we lost our little friend (Jordan Lewis) to Melbourne. That caused angst with a lot of our supporters and I know it caused a lot of angst for our coach and some of our board even.
“They’re one of the wonderments of Hawthorn is we put the interests of the team and the club and its members first. No one is more important than the welfare of the club.
“Sometimes you got to make hard decisions, sometimes that means you work with your assets to try and bring about change that orchestrates refreshing.
“You can’t just wait until everyone drops off because of age or form or something else.
“That’s where Alastair (Clarkson) and Graham Wright have again been so successful.
“It’s not easy and I’ll lay you London to a brick. All of those people we let go, or who go, having spent majority of their life at Hawthorn, will always be Hawthorn first.
“I didn’t have it (the conversation with Ratten), that was done by the football department. Nothing is easy.
“He is a wonderful man, he has got wonderful values. Nothing is forever and we have to make change.
“If you allow at the end of the day, emotion to rule your decisions, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s commercially, whether it’s in a football club, you will lose, because your competitors, who have the ability to make change, will go ahead of you.”
Kennett also commented on the possibility of Hawthorn acquiring the services of club great Mitchell, who has indicated his intentions to leave West Coast at the end of the year.
“I don’t know where that is all going to end up,” Kennett said.
“I’ve read the papers like you guys have. As I understand, West Coast went to keep him for a while until the duration of his contract and I can understand that.
“When I sign a contract, I like to have honoured but sometimes there are variations and if they can be arrived at by agreement, that’s good.
“Would I like to see him back? Yes I would. Is it possible? I have no idea.”
Listen to Jeff Kennett’s chat with Sam McClure on SEN’s Time On in the player below