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The Age

Dunstall defends TV decision

Date: 28/08/1998
Words: 279
          Publication: The Age
Section: SPORT
Page: 3
Jason Dunstall yesterday rejected suggestions that he put his loyalty to Channel Seven ahead of Hawthorn by announcing his retirement on TV on Wednesday night.

Speaking at Glenferrie Oval before his final training session with the Hawks, Dunstall said Hawthorn's president, chief executive, coach and football manager knew his decision late in the afternoon, which he said satisfied the basic criteria of letting the club know first. "They were the people it really concerned at the club," he said.

"I would have loved to have sat down with the players, told them all the reasons and really spilt my heart out to them. That would have been a very emotional thing for me to do.

"But unfortunately, the way things are these days and the level of professionalism in the game and the involvement of the media, you have certain commitments that prevent you from doing everything you would like to do."

Dunstall spoke to the players collectively and individually last night and remained confident they would support his reasons for breaking his news on TV. Several Hawthorn players were in the Live and Kicking audience on Wednesday night.

"It was a compromised situation I really couldn't do much about," Dunstall said, "but we respect each other, we like each other and I'm sure they'll understand why I did it that way.

"I don't regard it as putting the club second. I told the club first of my decision but whether we do it here or on TV is neither here nor there. Obviously my loyalties lie to my club but also to my employer."

Meanwhile, he said he was looking forward to closing his career against Fremantle tomorrow.

"To walk off the ground winning the last game with the teammates I've grown to love over the last few years would be a great thrill," he said. "I don't want to be driven around the oval on the back of a car. I want to go out with the club jumper on and my teammates around me, and I'll get that opportunity on the weekend."

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