He was most critical of Kennett in the sense that the former Victorian premier had lit a fuse with his remarks, arguing that other club directors could not have known he was going to say what he said, and that most Hawthorn members would never stand for a move.
“Hawthorn is a Melbourne team, and that’s what it’s all based on. We don’t live in the past but members were vocal once before. There’s a lot more members there now. The reaction would be very loud if they were going to do something like that,” Scott said on Sunday.
“I think it’s a total lack of respect for the board. The players used to brush it off by saying, ‘Oh, that’s Jeff.’ In other words, if you read into it a bit more, fairly derogatory. But I think it’s fairly insulting to the board, and whether the board has got to say, ‘Hey listen, you consult us before opening your mouth.’ He’s got to couch it in better terms.
“They wouldn’t have been [happy] with him making that statement or interview. Those board directors would be asked and would then say, ‘I don’t know.’”
Scott, 73, acknowledged that Kennett’s remarks came as he tiptoed the tightrope of three-cornered negotiations between Tasmania, Hawthorn and the AFL.
“It’s a nothing statement because he’s got to appease the Tasmanian Government because they’ve obviously got the sponsorship down there, they’re building a $50-100 million complex in Dingley and also the AFL. It really doesn’t say much at all, when you really sit down and analyse it,” Scott said.
“Maybe the choice of words could have been better. Because it would get a lot of people, especially Hawthorn people, off-side.”
Having previously stated that he would not extend his stint beyond the end of 2020, Kennett last year backflipped by standing for re-election. Having stood unopposed, he now stands to be president until the end of 2023.
Scott unsuccessfully challenged the Ian Dicker-led Hawthorn board in 2004, and said that someone needed to stand up to Kennett.
“There are people out there who are capable and better qualified than him to lead the club,” Scott said.
Scott was equivocal when asked whether he would consider standing for the board.
“It’d have to be set up right. It’d have to be set up very differently. I’m a very polarising figure,” he said.
“We keep all options open,” Kennett said on Friday about the prospect of Hawthorn moving to Tasmania.
“You don’t rule anything in or out. Why would you rule any option out at the start?”
Scott has had longstanding and public issues with Kennett. In 2019, Scott refused to turn up in person to Hawthorn’s annual general meeting at which the dual premiership captain was going to be elevated to legend status at the club.
Kangaroos chief executive Ben Amarfio has ruled out a permanent North move to Tasmania. Both Hawthorn and North currently play four men’s home and away games in the state per year, with the Hawks playing out of Launceston and the Roos’ secondary base in Hobart.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter