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‘S***-canning our brand’: Clarkson unloads on AFL over poor fare for fans

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“We had 69 tackles [and] I don’t think we had a free kick from a tackle. 69 tackles and not one of them can be adjudicated as holding the ball? It’s like what’s happened to our game? You can’t have that many tackles and not one of them be incorrect disposal.

“The powers that be don’t think that right at the minute. Hopefully it will change because they’re wondering why goals can’t be scored.

“Some of the coaches and others … and some of the rules committee think the ball player needs to be protected so give him every opportunity.

“It’s been going on for four or five years and the rules committee keep winning their way.”

He said paying more of these free kicks would open up the game.

“At the minute the seagulls are all going after the chip. If there’s [an] incorrect disposal [free kick] you watch the seagulls spread,” Clarkson said.

Hunting in packs: Congestion around the footy has become a more common feature over past years, says the Hawks coach.

Hunting in packs: Congestion around the footy has become a more common feature over past years, says the Hawks coach.Credit:Getty Images

“The seagulls aren’t spreading out anymore because we aren’t paying the freekick.

“It’s frustrating … because there are a lot of coaches putting in a lot of time trying to work out ‘how can we become more attacking and offensive?’

“Every coach talks about it, including me.

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“What’s coaching got to do with it? We teach our players to tackle and they tackle. If a player doesn’t dispose the ball correctly the rule book says blow the whistle and pay a freekick.”

Clarkson also admitted he wasn’t happy with how his side played, outside of his incorrect disposal complaints, and said that both sides should have had more tackles rewarded with free kicks.

“I was so disappointed with the way we played and I am so disappointed with the way the game is being played. It’s frustrating and it must be frustrating for our fans,” he said.

“We are seeing a lot of stop [and] start, skinny side of the oval football dominated by defences and I think the game can help that in terms of the way it is adjudicated.”

Clarkson is widely considered the architect of footy’s modern day “zone” system of play.

In March this year Clarkson conceded he was one of the coaches who had contributed to the game’s trend of increasingly defensive tactics.

“No club plays ‘one v one’ anymore. It’s all zones,” Clarkson told SEN radio earlier this year. “That type of zoning and connection between one another to defend has become very sophisticated across all teams. The upshot of that is no bugger can score anymore.”

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