Rowdy Hawthorn fans vote out amalgamation proposal
Australian Football League anti-merger forces were jubilant yesterday after Hawthorn members voted against a union with founding team Melbourne. Multi-premiership Hawthorn coach Allan Jeans was booed and jeered from the floor as 3,500 members packed Camberwell Town Hall for an extraordinary members vote.
Although Melbourne members voted narrowly in favour of amalgamation with the Hawks, a merger cannot proceed without agreement from both clubs. Former captain Don Scott, leader of Hawthorn's anti-merger force, said on radio yesterday: 'We won it on the floor.' Scott said the group had started with about 2,200 votes to the pro-merger group's 2,700. But at the end of the day the anti-merger votes had gathered a further 500.
Then, after going into the meeting trailing by about 100 votes, his group won the battle on the floor and eventually ran out winners by about 4,700 to 3,000. Hawthorn's pro-merger forces faced a torrent of abuse from an emotion-charged crowd as members prepared to vote.
Former premiership coach Jeans and president Brian Coleman struggled to put their message to a hostile crowd of 3,500. Scott started and finished his speech to deafening applause as the last of three anti-merger speakers in the rowdy debate.
Scott delighted the crowd with a mock-up of the proposed guernsey for a merged team. He ripped gold strips and a Hawk logo that had been tacked on to the jumper to demonstrate his argument that it was little more than the current Melbourne strip.
The pro-merger group at Melbourne lost the meeting vote at Dallas Brooks Hall but won the proxy vote to narrowly triumph by 450 votes.