Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge has hit back at criticism for former Essendon forward and now Footy Classified panel member Matthew Lloyd that he will be asked to move on at the end of the season.
Lloyd took aim at the club's elder statesman of the club in Josh Gibson, Sam Mitchell, Shaun Burgoyne and Hodge.
“Out of contract (at the end of the year) is (Josh) Gibson, (Sam) Mitchell, (Shaun) Burgoyne and Hodge. I probably think Hodge is the one most vulnerable at the end of the year,” Lloyd said earlier in the week on Nine Network’s Footy Classified.
“He’s played four games out of nine this year, he’s a banged up warrior. I’m just wondering whether Clarko (coach Alastair Clarkson) speaks to him like he spoke to (Shane) Crawford at the end of 2008 and says to him, ‘We’re not going to retire you because you’ve been a champion for our club, but we’re not sure where you fit within our framework.’”
Speaking on KIIS 101.1 this morning, Hodge says that Lloyd completely ignored the fact that the quartet has been an integral part of the team's success.
“With Lloyd’s points though, the four blokes he mentioned came four out of our top five in the best and fairest award last year, and have been consistent for the last three years throughout the premierships,” Hodge said.
“The three other blokes haven’t missed a game or have played a majority of games for the last three years and they’re playing sensational football.”
Hodge said things may have been a bit different for Lloyd given that he played in just the one position.
“When he goes on to say, ‘Not sure of a role (where) he fits into our structure,’ considering over the last three years I’ve played back, middle and forward, and I’ve been captain.
“Considering I’ve been injured, well it’s common sense, or it’s speculation to say he is the most vulnerable, because I’ve been injured.
“That might have been the conversation (Lloyd) had at the end of his career because he only had one role (up forward), but that’s the best part about our sport, everyone has an opinion about it, some people agree, some people don’t, and it’s my job to prove him wrong.”