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)

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.

“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.”


    • He said the same thing about getting their share of frees from the rule himself during the post-match press conference. He’s not actually complaining, he’s merely suggesting that the rule encourages players – including his own – to put themselves in a risky situation just to win a free kick. His point is that the players are not as concerned about brain damage as the rules committee are, and therefore the rules need to be changed to try and prevent players from deliberately putting their brains at risk – in other words, protecting them from themselves. And for the record, I’m a Carlton supporter and definitely not a Clarkson fan, but in this instance he makes a lot of sense.

  1. Simple solution. The interpretation on the deliberate out of bounds rule is as simple as if the umpire thinks its deliberate its beliberate. Should be the same on staging free kicks. If the umpire deems the player staging for a free kick deliberately then it should be a free against.

  2. For the record the free kick against Melbourne resulted in only a point not a goal so you all you media boys get your facts right before you plaster it all over the news.!

  3. Everyone sooks when there’s a high tackle free kick, everyone wants the AFL to do something about it. someone addresses it. And everybody sooks, cooked or….

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