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Hawthorn Hawks, board, Jeff Kennett, Peter Nankivell, infighting, Hawks for Change, new president, elect

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Hawthorn’s infighting has spiralled out into the public domain, after “factually incorrect” suggestions president-elect Peter Nankivell was handed his new role in an unfair process.

In a statement released by Hawks premiership captain Don Scott and Geoff Harris on Monday, the duo slammed the actions of supporter group Hawks for Change representatives Andy Gowers and James Merlino after they questioned Nankivell’s appointment.

Scott and Harris labelled the comments surrounding Nankivell as “flawed”, “failed” and “grossly inaccurate”.

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“It is important that we set the record straight as we both feel as though we are also being criticised,” the duo said in a statement.

“In particular, we have concern about the suggestion that the process that saw the Board unanimously support Vice President Peter Nankivell as Jeff Kennett’s successor was not good practice. In fact, it was the very best of good governance.”

Earlier in 2022, it had been suggested the Hawks and Jeff Kennett backed out of a deal made with for Gowers to relinquish a board challenge.

This season was Jeff Kennett’s last as club president. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

Premiership player Gowers was a presidential candidate before Hawks vice-president Nankivell was elevated to replace Jeff Kennett in recent weeks.

Nankivell had been at the helm of the Nominations Committee to find Kennett’s replacement, but Scott and Harris said the group “could not recommend a preferred candidate to the Board”.

“Realising that we had no recommendation but recognising that Peter Nankivell was the most experienced Board member at Hawthorn after Jeff, some of us on the Nominations Committee asked Peter to reconsider his decision to finish at the end of his term in a years’ time, and consider taking on the President’s role for a three-year period,” the duo’s statement read.

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After reconsidering the role with his family, Nankivell accepted for a three-year term.

“Without doubt, the process and conclusion of nominating Peter Nankivell as Jeff Kennett’s successor was considered to all involved to be the very best of good governance,” the duo said.

“Andy Gowers and James Merlino are factually incorrect in their public commentary on this matter.

“We need to keep the club strong with experienced people on the Board to continue the major initiatives outlined above with as minimal disruption as possible.”

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