Geelong coach Chris Scott says Tom Hawkins has an issue with throwing a "swinging arm" but the key forward doesn't owe him anything after he was suspended for striking.
On Monday night, the AFL tribunal upheld Hawkins' one-match ban for striking West Coast's Will Schofield, with the star Cat to miss Friday night's preliminary final against Richmond.
Hawkins received two fines for striking Sydney's Jordan Dawson and Hawthorn's James Sicily this year, while he received three suspensions for jumper punches across 2017 and 2018.
"By taking the approach that we should support him - because no-one's more devastated than Tom - doesn't mean that you're pretending that he hasn't got a bit of an issue with this swinging arm stuff," Scott told Fox Footy's AFL 360.
Scott said the idea Hawkins had let his team down was "simplistic", emphasising the impact the key forward had on the Cats' finals campaigns in recent years.
"If we didn't have Tom Hawkins, we wouldn't be where we are now," Scott said.
"My view is he doesn't owe me anything. As a coach, if I didn't have him the last nine years, it wouldn't be five grand finals, premiership in 2011.
"He won us a premiership in 2011. He doesn't owe me anything."
The Cats will now have to decide on how to replace Hawkins - something Scott said they would look to settle on early in the week.
"We haven't got an obvious replacement for him," Scott said.
"We've known for a long time that he was a crucial player for us and he was really good on Friday night after a few weeks where his form wasn't quite as good.
"So we'll present a different look to Richmond."
Scott said he believed the motivation of getting Hawkins back for a potential grand final could galvanise the Cats despite their disappointment.
"They'd be really disappointed we don't have him this week," he said.
"It's so hard to get an opportunity like the one we've got this Friday night and to go in without one of your best players against a premiership favourite makes it that much harder.
"So everyone's disappointed but not more disappointed than him. And we all make mistakes across the season so he's made one and he's paying a far bigger price than most.
"But I think if anything, the overwhelming sense of his teammates will be 'we've got to get it done this Friday night to give him a chance to play next week' and I think that can be as galvanising as anything."
Australian Associated Press