Hawks players behind Stratton: Smith

Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton had a tough night out against Essendon at Marvel Stadium.
Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton had a tough night out against Essendon at Marvel Stadium.

Under-fire Hawthorn skipper Ben Stratton is yet to address his teammates about his dirty tactics in their AFL loss to Essendon but Isaac Smith says he has the playing group's full support.

Stratton will front the AFL tribunal for multiple offences, most notably repeatedly pinching the Bombers' Orazio Fantasia during Friday night's match.

The first-year captain has also been charged after allegedly stomping on Shaun McKernan and fined for making an obscene gesture.

Smith says with the Hawks players given the weekend off he hasn't seen Stratton but his teammates back the tough approach the three-time premiership defender brings to every game.

"We love 'Stratto' and we love the way he plays on the edge, and sometime when you play on the edge you make mistakes," Smith said on Monday.

"He's come out and said that's not the way we want to go about it and as a club that's not the way we want to go about it either, but we also want our players to play on the edge and be ruthless when they're out there."

Smith said he "wasn't sure" if pinching was a regular feature of Stratton's game or used widely throughout the league, however, felt players regularly tried to unsettle their opponents.

"I've been tagged in a few games I've played and I know just by watching that there are different tactics out there," he said, although he didn't want to provide any examples.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said on Monday that while Fantasia was "annoyed" by Stratton's pinching, it didn't impact on his performance.

"If there's something happening that is holding a player back from performing you would hope that something happens about that," Worsfold told reporters.

Worsfold said he had been pinched during his playing career.

"Pinching wasn't the worst thing that happened to me, let me tell you that," he said.

But Worsfold said pinching was difficult for umpires to police.

"They are not going to pay a free kick because a player tells them something; we told them that there's a bloke hanging on the goal post and nothing happened," he said, referring to Sydney's Dane Rampe's actions in the last minute of their match in round eight.

"The umpires will pay what they see ... if they don't see it, they're not going to act on word of mouth."

Australian Associated Press