Alistair Clarkson has hit back at comments about tactics after Thursday’s loss to Richmond.Alastair Clarkson has rubbished pre-match speculation that his coaching could prove the difference on Thursday night, calling AFL pundits a pack of sheep.
The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach said Richmond’s system was too strong as the Tigers kicked clear in the second half of the qualifying final for a 31-point win.
While Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said Clarkson gave the Tigers coaches some worries, the Hawks coach said system and not tactics were all-important in finals.
“I don’t mean to be too unflattering, but you guys are like a bunch of sheep,’ Clarkson said in his post-game media conference.
“Someone brings up the fact that Clarkson is going to tactically have an impact on this game – you haven’t watched the way I’ve coached for 14 years.
“We’re a system-based … side and that’s why Richmond are so strong at the moment.
“They’re system-based – every side that’s won premierships is system-based, none of it tactics.
Hardwick said the Hawks tried playing running midfielder Isaac Smith off the back of the centre square and the Tigers were wary of what Clarkson might throw at them.
“That’s what Clarko does, he gets you thinking in the coaches’ box. You know you’re never up for an easy task,” Hardwick said.
“They had some things that didn’t go their way tonight – they’re an outstanding side.
“It just wasn’t their night and to be fair, we played some really good footy also.
“You always have to be on guard against the great man.”
But Clarkson said at the pointy end of the season, tactical tricks are not the answer.
“Occasionally you’ll win a game of footy with something spectacular, but not usually in finals,” he said.