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Mark Duffield: Put Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on the mat for training head blow

If the AFL has reached the level the place it’s prepared and capable of ship Adelaide’s David Mackay to the AFL tribunal for the collision that left St Kilda’s Hunter Clark with a damaged jaw, why isn’t it prepared and capable of ship Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson there too?

All Mackay did was what each footballer round Australia is requested to do each weekend on each oval the place the recreation is performed: Go exhausting for the ball.

Clarkson on the different hand, as coach of Hawthorn and an individual wielding an enormous affect over the soccer destinies of Mitchell Lewis and Jacob Koschitzke, put the pair in a boxing ring and berated them to go more durable at one another till one in every of them (Koschitzke) knocked the different (Lewis) out.


Just as the soup Nazi in Seinfeld declared “no soup for you”, for Lewis it was: Bang. Lights out. Concussion. No footy for you this weekend younger man.

Before we get snug in assuming that AFL coaches know what they’re doing, we should always have the ability to get snug in believing they know what they aren’t doing. They aren’t curing most cancers.

They aren’t integral to peace talks in the center east. And Clarkson was imagined to be making ready his group to play Sydney in a match of Australian Rules Football, not making ready them for an all-in scrap in opposition to Paul Gallen and Justis Huni.

Senior coaches aren’t all the time the loudest and most influential voice inside a membership’s soccer division however when a coach has received 4 premierships together with three on the fly, there’s a truthful guess that he will likely be.

Alastair Clarkson.
Camera IconAlastair Clarkson. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

Clarkson is the AFL’s coach of the decade. The coach of the century up to now.

You need to go all the manner again to 2012 to discover a flag that both wasn’t coached by him or coached by somebody who coached beneath him sooner or later.

Let’s cease kidding ourselves about what the Mackay tribunal listening to was about. People have been calling it a landmark case. Please. The AFL has by no means been a lot good at drawing and holding a line in the sand.

Its landmarks are extra like skidmarks – ready to be washed away due to a giant title at the tribunal or a giant recreation at stake – like a grand last (bear in mind Trent Cotchin on Dylan Shiel in 2017).

When you juxtapose the actions of David Mackay in opposition to Alastair Clarkson… you’ll discover the Hawthorn coach infinitely extra culpable for a head harm to an AFL footballer than the Crows participant was.

But the Mackay listening to was a message that the league is in the means of attempting to vary participant behaviour.

That sooner or later in the not too distant future what Mackay did, lastly deemed acceptable by the tribunal this time, will likely be deemed unacceptable. That the potential danger for any head harm is now deemed too nice for the recreation and for any particular person taking part in it.

The league has lengthy since taken a stand in stamping out deliberate acts that trigger severe harm, it’s now someplace alongside the monitor of attempting to stop accidents.

If nothing else, we spent the greatest a part of 4 days having the dialogue on the place contact like Mackay on Clark sits in the recreation’s future. That will show to be time effectively spent in the coming months. Make no mistake. This dialog isn’t over but.

Adelaide's David Mackay faces the AFL Tribunal after his clash with St Kilda's Hunter Clark last Saturday.
Camera IconAdelaide’s David Mackay’s bump on St Kilda’s Hunter Clark induced debate this week. Credit: Glen Quartermain/TheWest

But if we’re severe about altering the behaviour of gamers, shouldn’t we begin with the behaviour of the individuals who have the biggest affect over them – the coaches?

Coaches are like farmers. They resolve on a set of values and qualities they like they usually cull these traits and qualities each out and in of their groups as farmers do with their flocks.

A scrawny ewe with an undershot jaw and dermatitis doesn’t get to remain and breed. A participant with no tank, no defensive work ethic and dodgy expertise doesn’t get to play and succeed.

When you juxtapose the actions of David Mackay in opposition to Alastair Clarkson in the previous couple of weeks you’ll discover the Hawthorn coach infinitely extra culpable for a head harm to an AFL footballer than the Crows participant was.

The choices that Mackay made that resulted in Clark’s damaged jaw have been made in a cut up second 10 metres away from the ball: Can I get there in time? I believe I can. Am I going to strive? Yes I’m. I’m all in…. dedicated.

They wouldn’t have even been aware ideas. They would have been instincts that kicked in in the time it takes to click on your fingers.

And then at the final doable cut up second, after he had bent for the ball and was more and more conscious of an almighty collision about to happen: Get your shoulder round, shield your self. Basic human nature, intuition, once more decided in the click on of a finger.

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Hunter Clark of the Saints receives attention during the round 13 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Adelaide Crows at Cazaly's Stadium on June 12, 2021 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
Camera IconHunter Clark suffered a damaged jaw in the collision. Credit: Albert Perez/AFL Photos/through Getty Images

Clarkson on the different hand, filthy at a limp 37-point loss to Gold Coast, had greater than a day to plan his response earlier than Lewis and Koschitzke donned the gloves and began swinging on Monday.

He had time, earlier than and after he issued the edict that they go more durable to ponder a really related query: What’s the worst factor that may occur?

Apparently, in accordance with the Hawks extremely scientific rationalization of the occasion, the worst factor that might occur is that one in every of them would “zig when he should have zagged” and would “cop one on the scone”.

Who might have predicted such a factor from a sparring session? Well it definitely wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist.

If Mackay had gone after which stopped wanting the collision, what would we’ve got product of it? The recreation is harder than ever to play. The scrutiny is larger than ever on gamers from the exterior.

Don’t child your self that the scrutiny isn’t extreme on the inside a soccer division as effectively.

The Hawks scored a giant upset win and Clarkson received plenty of the credit score for that. Koschitzke had 5 disposals and kicked two targets in opposition to Sydney.

Maybe a little bit of boxing helped him play his function. It didn’t do loads for Lewis although

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