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Clarkson breaks silence over trading Mitchell and Lewis

Hawks explain, Suns busy, trade latest The Footy Feed team with the latest
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 3: Sam Mitchell celebrates with team-mate Jordan Lewis of the Hawks after a win during the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on October 3, 2015. (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)
Hawthorn champions Jordan Lewis and Sam Mitchell have both departed the club

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ALASTAIR Clarkson has broken his silence, sending Hawthorn members an extensive video explaining why club greats Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis have been traded.

In a 17-minute interview emailed to members and then posted on the club's website, the Hawks coach revealed the stress and emotion he felt bidding farewell to the four-time premiership stars.

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"It's been tough for everyone, I think. I've picked up my first cold sore for the (trade) period, there's a bit of stress involved in this last couple of weeks," Clarkson said. 

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Hawthorn couldn't guarantee Mitchell or Lewis' futures at Waverley beyond 2017 and Clarkson said tough conversations were required. 

"It was really to allow them to share in the decision-making and try to control their own destiny, in a sense," he said.

"Both those guys, I don't think, would enjoy the conversation with me or anyone else at our football club if we got to round 20 next season and we marched them in and said 'I don't think we're going to re-contract you next year'. 

"That sat really uncomfortably with me."

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In the wide-ranging interview, Clarkson revealed why Hawthorn couldn't offer Mitchell and Lewis longer deals, his hopes for the next generation and why the Hawks targeted Ty Vickery and Tom Mitchell.

- On his Tuesday morning meeting with Lewis: "There was a bit of a tear in my eye when we left. But we shake hands and acknowledge the great contribution we've made at our footy club and wish them all the best." 

- On why the Hawks didn't offer the pair longer deals: "It's mainly got to do with our list profile. At some point in time tough decisions need to be made in terms of looking to the future as well."

- On the next generation needing to step up: "I certainly hope so now because they are big shoes to fill. They're going to need to step up if we're going to continue to compete at the highest level and challenge at the end of September next year."

- On recruiting Vickery: "Especially with Roughy (Jarryd Roughead) missing this year we felt we just didn’t' have enough tall targets in our front end who were big, strong bodies. We just felt Ty could provide us with a little bit of ruck support as well." 

- On recruiting Tom Mitchell: "That was totally independent of the Mitch (Sam Mitchell) and Jordan (Lewis) decisions really, whether it was to do with salary cap or space. We were hoping that Tom Mitchell would actually get a chance to play with those two boys so they could impart a bit of knowledge and wisdom." 

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Clarkson also revealed he spoke to Luke Breust about his longer-term future when Gold Coast asked about the small forward, and with Paul Puopolo and Billy Hartung, who attracted the Lions' interest.

The four-time premiership coach didn't address where trade negotiations are at in the bid to secure Jaeger O'Meara, with the Hawks still to satisfy Gold Coast ahead of the looming NAB AFL Trade Period deadline at 2pm on Thursday (AEDT).