Sport

AFL 2020: Hawks coach quiet a week after rant forced change

AFL 2020: Hawks coach quiet a week after rant forced change

A week after a post-match plea led to a rule change, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson’s opposition benefited most, but the premiership mentor will bite his tongue for now.

But this time Clarkson chose to bite his tongue.

The four-time premiership winner went on a rant a week ago, declaring football was being blighted by bad games, and singled out a lack of free kicks for holding the ball as a reason.

AFL officials reacted, tightening the interpretation and allowing umpires to ping players without prior opportunity if the umpire deemed they didn’t make a genuine attempt to get rid of the ball.

It had mixed results across the weekend and was a massive benefit to Hawthorn’s opposition.

The Giants were given 10 holding the ball decisions, from 51 tackles, to the Hawks’ one, from 49 tackles, in the 34-point loss.

But Clarkson said he was “better off” not commenting further.

“There’s been a bit of hype about it throughout the course of the week based on my comments last week so I’m better off not commenting further,” Clarkson said post-match.

“I’d rather bow out and see how it pans out over the next little while.

“In essence, if holding the ball is being rewarded a little more for good tackling, I think that’s a good thing for the game and it’ll open up the game.

“I don’t know if that was the case tonight. There were more goals scored tonight than there has been in other games, but we’d still like there to be a bit more, particularly if we could start kicking them.

“There’s a lot of people who can talk about it.”

Clarkson said one week’s worth of games wasn’t enough to see if the change would have the impact he was looking for.

“We’ll see if it has any impact on the quality of games going forward,” he said.

“We’ve got a sample size of a round of footy and I haven’t watched enough of the other games to see if there’s been any change or significant impact at this point in time, but we’ll wait and see over a passage of time what’s transpired in that space.”