Alastair Clarkson has bristled at queries over Hawthorn’s use of the concussion substitute on Friday night and renewed hostilities with Wayne Carey after the Hawks’ loss to Richmond.
A week after Carey suggested triple-premiership star Sam Mitchell might struggle to get a game at another club, Clarkson had the North Melbourne legend and Channel 7 special comments man in his sights.
It was suggested during the host broadcaster’s halftime show that substitute Billy Hartung’s injection into the game in the second quarter might have been a tactical move rather than a strictly medical decision after he provided some much-needed spark.
“You really think we’d do that?” Clarkson said in reply to a query on the concussion sub in his post-match press conference.
“We’ve got a doctor down on the bench who makes the concussion call and the coach doesn’t have anything to do with it – get that clear. “Not me, not 17 other coaches either.
“We never, never overrule the doctor in terms of anything to do with that.”
Clearly displeased by the suggestion of the Hawks trying to gain a tactical advantage from the 20-minute medical substitution, Clarkson took aim at Carey.
“Who said that? Duck (Carey) was it? Another great call by Carey,” he said.
“It was right on the 20 minutes wasn’t it? Which would suggest to me that it was all done according to the rule book.”
Asked if Carey’s remarks about Mitchell were still bothering him, Clarkson said,”It was silly … we should open a file on Wayne Carey”.
The Hawks’ chances of snaring a top-two finish took a serious hit with the 18-point loss to Richmond.
Clarkson labeled it a “wake-up call” to both his club and the wider AFL community that had largely installed Hawthorn as unbackable favourites to claim their third flag in succession.
Further souring the evening for Clarkson was the report of Frawley for a marginal sling tackle on Jack Riewoldt that didn’t appear to be executed with any malice and certainly didn’t harm the Tigers’ spearhead.
“We just need clarity, don’t we?,” an exasperated Clarkson said.
“I think everyone in the game needs clarity because that was paid as a free kick.
“I know that they pay dangerous tackles in under-nine’s but I didn’t know that that rule was now being applied at senior AFL level.
“So, if it is, let us know and we’re happy to comply but if it’s not don’t pay the free kick.”