VETERAN Ben McEvoy has backed Alastair Clarkson as Hawthorn's long-term coach after ex-Hawk Jordan Lewis called for the club to consider assistant Sam Mitchell to navigate a potential rebuild.
While Clarkson remains contracted until 2022, Lewis questioned whether he was the right man to take the Hawks through their next phase after falling to 3-3 on Friday night.
The Hawks currently have the third-oldest list in the competition and have just one first-round draftee on their list – round six debutant Will Day – that they have selected in the past nine NAB AFL Drafts.
They usually rely on trades to get high-end talent to the club with Chad Wingard, Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara, Tom Scully and Jon Patton among recent additions to the club.
"I don't necessarily like the term 'rebuild', but Hawthorn has got a serious question to answer. Do they have to go down that path?" Lewis, a four-time premiership Hawk, told SEN on Monday.
"What we're seeing at the moment, it's inconsistent and there are no kids coming through that they can hang their hat on and build a side around.
"No doubt he's (Clarkson) the best coach in the League, but whether you want to go back into that rebuilding phase … because it's not quick. It's a three-to-five-year process.
"Whether he has that type of energy in him, or whether it's a Sam Mitchell who is sitting and waiting and who has that energy, smarts and football IQ to take over the reins and take that club forward through that transition period."
McEvoy, Lewis' teammate for flags in 2014 and 2015, responded on Monday morning in Sydney.
"I'd nearly have to ask, does he remember Clarko? Has there ever been a more enthusiastic guy?" McEvoy said.
"He's still unbelievably passionate for the game and this footy club so no chance that's accurate.
"Lewy's just got himself a new job in the media, he's entitled to have an opinion. I obviously don't agree with it but can't argue with anyone having that opinion because we haven't been putting the results on the board in the last two weeks.
"I don't think so (need a rebuild), I have a lot of confidence in the group we've got that our best is definitely good enough.
"I don't think there's any need to panic, we just need to stick at it and hopefully we can smooth out some of those bumps."
The Hawks have played five of last year's top six to start 2020 – Brisbane, Geelong, Richmond, GWS and Collingwood – and face Melbourne this week.
They'll be without Patton, who has been ruled out for at least a month with a hamstring injury, and McEvoy revealed he had offered they key forward some words of support after he was held to 13 games through injury in his first season at Waverley Park.