HAWTHORN captain Luke Hodge is free to lead his team into the finals next week after the Hawks' leadership group imposed upon him a $5000 fine for drink-driving.
Hodge – who had already been fined $450 and docked 10 demerit points after being pulled over by police on Thursday night when he recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.068 – has been asked by his fellow team leaders to make a donation to a charity of his choice.
The Hawks' leadership group, along with coach Alastair Clarkson and football manager Chris Fagan, met to discuss the matter immediately after Hawthorn's 57-point final-round win over Carlton at the MCG.
In announcing the sanction in his post-match media conference, Clarkson said he believed it to be a fair punishment for a rare but "pretty significant error of judgment" by the 31-year-old.
"We're satisfied (with the penalty) as a footy club, given what he's given to our club, what he's given to the game, the shame that he's had to endure over the last 24 hours … and also his remorse," Clarkson said.
"We've got a whole raft of approaches that we could take to this particular incident and our leadership group and the executive of our football club didn’t think it was at the level to warrant a suspension."
Clarkson conceded a stronger penalty might have been imposed had the culprit been a young player or one with fewer credit points.
"Quite possibly, because when 'Hodgey' was a second or third-year player I threw everything at him because he missed a training session after a 21st (birthday party) and that was nearly the last time he had any trouble at our footy club," he said.
Clarkson revealed the Hawks' "alcohol game plan" laid out clear protocols for available players and those who are injured, but that the suspended Hodge's "peculiar set of circumstances … sits outside of that".
"We’re just disappointed that it’s so close to the finals and he’s the captain of our footy club, so we’d expect that he would have been stronger in his compliance to it than he was," Clarkson said.
"We were all pretty disappointed, obviously. He's been a first-class leader of our footy club, too, for a long, long period of time. It's just so out of character for Hodgey."
Clarkson said he expected Hodge would donate the $5000 to a road-trauma or related charity.