MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Alastair Clarkson, coach of the Hawks speaks to his team during a quarter time break during the round 11 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 4, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Clarko wants changes to high tackle interpretation

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says the league must crackdown on players drawing high tackle free kicks.

Clarkson said that while it is frustrating seeing players stage for free kicks, it is also a safety issue, with players putting their heads in dangerous position in order to draw a free kick.

“I hope it’s done by the end of the year,” Clarkson said.

“Mark (AFL football operations manager Mark Evans) has been out there saying we don’t want to make the head a free hit, but at the moment players are using their heads as an opportunity to win a free kick and that is what’s dangerous, very, very dangerous.

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“We’ve done some really good things in the game to protect guys from injury. But I think this one about the head at the moment … it’s not protecting the head because players are actually putting their heads in a position where it can get whacked. That is going to be dangerous at some point in time.”

The four-time premiership coach said it is a competition wide problem that needs to be addressed, while also admitting that even his club has some players who stage for free kicks.

“We’ve got some, other clubs have got more, but that’s the way the game is,” Clarkson said.

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“As soon as you provide some enticement for a player to win an easy free kick, guess what, they’re not concerned about their heads and concussion. All they’re worried about is out of a pretty precarious situation, how can they find themselves a free kick.

“At the moment the umpires are being told protect the head under all circumstances. We’re happy (Stewart) got the free kick according to the rules at the present time, but we’d like to see that changed and I reckon a lot of other coaches would too.”

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