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 rankled Clarkson when he suggested triple-premiership star Sam Mitchell might struggle to get a game at another club, the coach had the North Melbourne legend and Channel 7 special comments man in his sights once more.
Billy Hartung’s injection into the game in the second quarter had some speculating that it 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”.
Appearing on his regular Melbourne radio show on Saturday morning, Carey professed his innocence.
“He got that one wrong because I didn’t make the comments but it’s all good,” Carey told Triple M.
“It’s part of footy and you move on.
“Clearly he’s still got a bee in his bonnet but he should be more concerned about the king-hit that the Tigers put on his Hawks.”
Clarkson’s ire might have been better directed at Carey’s Triple M stablemate, former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon.
“I just saw James Frawley on the bench … how concussed he looked is a matter of conjecture but, by hell, Billy Hartung’s run in the last couple of minutes has been important,” Lyon said during the broadcast.
“I wouldn’t be so bold as to say they’re making it up but I reckon they’ve really erred on the side of caution.”
Despite Clarkson’s obvious displeasure at the issue, it was a side note to the main story, with the Hawks’ chances of snaring a top-two finish taking a serious hit with the surprise 18-point loss.
Clarkson labelled 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.”