Triple premiership player Paul Chapman has reignited Geelong’s feud with Hawthorn after Cats recruit Isaac Smith was relentlessly booed by Hawks fans on Easter Monday.
Geelong hung on for a tense five-point win in what was Smith’s first game since crossing from Hawthorn – though he nearly didn’t make it to the MCG.
Cats coach Chris Scott revealed Smith, who won three flags with the Hawks, was ill and almost missed the grudge match.
Smith and his former teammates had traded plenty of barbs in the lead-up but Hawthorn fans had the most fierce reaction to his debut in rival colours.
The veteran speedster was booed every time he went near the ball, with Geelong supporters launching cheers in attempts to drown out the Hawks’ fan base.
But the entire situation peeved Chapman.
“Hawthorn supporters – shame on you. A 3 time premiership player goes to another club and you boo him,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you Geelong supporters for being more understanding. Love you guys – respect.”
Chapman finished his own career in opposition colours – spending two years at Essendon – after he was pushed out by the Cats in 2013.
After one fan pointed out there was a difference between his exit from Geelong and Smith’s decision to leave Hawthorn, Chapman wrote “agree to a degree but… I’ve said it already”.
To another, he added: “Joke supporter base.”
Smith, who won three flags and served as vice-captain during his 210-game, 10-year career with Hawthorn, shared hugs and laughs with a number of former teammates after the game on Monday.
The 32-year-old had 15 disposals in his first game against the Hawks and master coach Alastair Clarkson, with his Cats coach Chris Scott admitting Smith was still feeling the effects of a very recent illness.
“I don’t normally divulge these things, and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel sorry for (Smith), but he only just made it to the line,” Scott said after the win over Hawthorn.
“He was ill in the last couple of days and that kind of added to the pressure a little bit for him.
“He couldn’t come to training yesterday, he was still pretty crook and I had to stop asking (if he would play).
“Clearly he was affected but I thought he was good for us. He’s a confident sort of guy and I thought our players really supported him.
“But it’s naive to say don’t worry about. It’s like saying don’t think about an apple, you just think about an apple – you need to address it.
“We had a few other issues as well, but we didn’t treat it like another game, we treated it like Easter Monday – a big occasion.
“We feel privilege to play in it and this may not happen for the rest of our professional careers so we’ve got to make the most of them when they come.”
– with AAP