Sport Clarkson affirms AFL commitment to Hawks
AFL teams relocate to QLD amid COVID-19 crisis
The AFL has announced Sydney teams will relocate to Queensland, and a Melbourne game will also be shifted north.Due to an "evolving COVID situation" in the country the AFL was forced to make some swift changes to the Round 18 schedule, including moving the Sydney derby from regional Victoria.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has emphatically declared he will see out his full contract with the club, while conceding the coaching speculation has impacted the playing group.
The AFL club's plan for Sam Mitchell to replace the premiership-winning mentor for the 2023 season has been in the spotlight, with rumours of tension between the pair.
Clarkson said he was "disappointed" about the way things have transpired in what should be an exciting time for the club.
"We understood of course that there would be speculation. I laugh at it in one way because if they're saying that, they don't really know me well," he said on Friday.
AFL clubs in COVID-19 exposure site chaos
Four AFL clubs in Queensland have been hit by some unwelcome news after visiting COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria. The clubs impacted include Essendon, North Melbourne, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney, but the AFL is hopeful the two matches involving those four clubs can still proceed tomorrow.It is understood all those involved attended the Wallabies-France rugby test at AAMI Park last Tuesday night.The players and staff need to isolate for 14 days.The sites these people visited only became tier one sites after they left the state for Queensland, when Victorian health officials updated their data.
"I'll see through my commitment. I've always been that way. Once you make a commitment to someone you follow it through to the end.
"My commitment to Sam Mitchell is through to the end of next year. That commitment was made 17 years ago when I walked into the Hawthorn Football Club.
"Sam has paid me back in spades and ... it's my turn now to try to help him be a senior coach."
Mitchell on Wednesday denied suggestions he was trying to push Clarkson out of the job, rejecting reports the pair's meeting with Hawthorn powerbrokers last week was set out for mediation.
Video: Lloyd highlights Lions' ruck problem (Wide World of Sports)
Clarkson said the coaching drama had created confusion among the playing group and disrupted preparation leading into their heavy loss to Fremantle a fortnight ago.
Mitchell rejects reports of Hawthorn rift
Sam Mitchell says he and Alastair Clarkson will be able to work well together at Hawthorn despite ongoing speculation over the AFL club's coaching handover.Mitchell on Wednesday spoke about the Hawks' coaching succession plan, declaring it had been a "baptism of fire" since it was announced early this month.
"The players, until you can ... look them in the eye and say 'I'm staying I'm not going anywhere'. They should have known that from me in the first instance when it was said," he said.
"But because there's so much scrutiny and speculation, they sometimes tend to think 'I wonder if he might go'.
"The McEvoys, the O'Mearas, the Bruests, the Shiels ... they know me very well and knew I was rock solid. For the younger guys it's a bit more difficult for them to work their way through that."
Clarkson said a decision to have him focus solely on day-to-day operations and assign Mitchell to future planning was a mistake and has undergone a shake-up.
"It's Sam and I looking after now and what's going on in the future," Clarkson said.
"There'll be a bit of tension along the way, but we're going to do it together. I don't know any marriage, business partnership where there isn't healthy tension in terms of having discussions about the path forward.
"We've never been backward in speaking our mind within the walls of the footy club."
Mitchell left Hawthorn at the end of 2016 in a trade to West Coast but returned to the Hawks as an assistant coach after a phone call from Clarkson in 2018.
Iconic Melbourne oval gets $3 million overhaul .
The Victorian Government has today announced the $3 million upgrade of iconic AFL training oval Gosch's Paddock.The upgrade will see the oval enlarged to the length of the MCG and the width of the Marvel Stadium ground, which will allow the Demons to appropriately replicate match-day situations during training with the oval gaining a near 20 per cent upgrade in size.