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Evans ready to be Mr Unpopular

Adam McNicol  March 13, 2013 3:12 PM

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New AFL football operations chief Mark Evans with Andrew Demetriou

I've told Mark that if he's unpopular after six weeks then he's doing well
NEW AFL operations manager Mark Evans is ready for the unpopularity that comes with the role he has taken on.

"At one stage I think I told (Andrew Demetriou) that I was aware I'd be the second-most despised person in football behind him," Evans said to AFL.com.au shortly after being unveiled as Adrian Anderson's replacement.

"He thought I'd be the third, but that's OK."

And although the former schoolteacher's appointment was widely hailed on Wednesday, his honeymoon period is likely to be brutally short.

"I've told Mark that if he's unpopular after six weeks then he's doing well," Demetriou joked at Wednesday's press conference.

Still, Evans starts with plenty of runs on the board.

After eight years as general manager of football operations at Hawthorn, and armed with the skills learned during a business course at Harvard University, he is approaching his new job with confidence.

"There's no point trying to be someone else in a role," Evans said.

"You have to be yourself, and I decided to go through the interview process just presenting who I am and what I stood for.

"I don't expect that I'll be the same as Adrian, I don't expect that I'll be the same as Andrew Demetriou when he was in the role.

"I'll bring my own characteristics to it.

"One of the things that I will bring is an ability to work with a wide group of people.

"Whether that stems back to my roles in teaching or communication or player welfare or the football operations role, that's probably been one of my strengths."

Evans believes that his player welfare experience at club level will help him sell the idea of rule changes such as the interchange cap.

"I think the game has been very good at considering player welfare issues over the past five to 10 years," he said.

"We will continue to do that."

As for how he'll deal with Hawthorn's outspoken coach Alastair Clarkson, who he spent eight years working alongside, Evans is not fretting to much about taking on his old mate.

"I'm sure he and I will be fine," Evans said. "But there might be a bit of commentary about how it all goes down.

"But I've had a terrific working relationship with 'Clarko'.

"He's very passionate, he's got good views and some strong views about the game, and it'll just be a changed relationship.

"But I don't see any problems."