Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson believes commentators that thought he was gonna have a big influence against Richmond are “sheep”, as he believes that successful teams aren’t built on match day tactics.
Clarko is recognized as one of the greatest coaches in league history with his 14-year career at the Hawks and four premierships to his name.
Many thought that Clarkson could create a few tactics to catch the Tigers and his former assistant Damien Hardwick by surprise.
But after his side’s 31-point loss at the MCG on Thursday night, Clarkson came out and said that the commentary had unsophisticated opinions.
“I don’t mean to be too unflattering, but you guys were like a bunch of sheep. Someone brings up the fact that Clarkson is going to tactically have an impact on this game hasn’t watched the way I coach for 14 years,” Clarkson said post-match.
“We’re a system-based coaching side and that’s why Richmond are so strong at the moment; they’re system based. Every side that has won premierships, they’re system-based, none of it is tactics.
“You’ll occasionally win a game of footy with something spectacular, but not usually in finals. And all of the successful coaches over the journey have all had a really, really strong system.
“Everyone knows what it is, bloody hard to break it down and that’s Richmond right now. And we were unable to break it down.”
Missed set shots from straight in front in the first half by Luke Breust and Shaun Burgoyne hurt the Hawks on Thursday night.
But Clarkson didn’t deny there is a huge gap between the two sides and that it hasn’t narrowed down since there last meeting in Round 3 where the Tigers won by 13 points.
The Hawks will try to turn this around as they get ready to play in a semi final against the winner of Friday night’s Melbourne and Geelong elimination final.
“We know where we’re at as a footy club. We think we’ve worked really hard, got ourselves a top-four position. We give ourselves some exposure to a couple of finals and hopefully some more,” he said.
“I’ve gone on record quite regularly saying we’re going to need a hell of a lot of things to go right for us to be able to win it this year, but we’re in there fighting hard.
“We just didn’t handle the conditions anywhere near as well as a more polished and experienced unit did tonight in Richmond.
“We’ll learn a lot from it and hopefully get ourselves better, whether that’s in the space of one week for our opponent next week or in the space of the next 12 months on where we need to go as a footy club.”