Clarkson wants Hawks on AFL flag track

Alastair Clarkson wants Hawthorn on track for another AFL premiership before his contract expires.
Alastair Clarkson wants Hawthorn on track for another AFL premiership before his contract expires.

Alastair Clarkson will make this his last contract at Hawthorn if the club are not on track to win another AFL grand final.

The four-time premiership-winning coach re-signed last October until the end of 2022.

However, the Hawks are in a state of flux after their 2013-15 flag three-peat, returning to last year's top four but bowing out of the finals in straight sets.

The season-long injury to Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell dampened predictions of what Hawthorn might achieve this year, but they opened the season with a strong away win over Adelaide.

"Probably by the end of this contract, if Hawthorn haven't been able to look like they're giving themselves a chance to win silverware, then it's probably time for me to move on," Clarkson told the Seven Network's Talking Footy show.

"But while there's still an appetite to grow some of these younger players and find the new generation of players, I'd want to make sure the club is in a really good position to hand over to the next person."

The Hawks beat the Crows despite being without star recruits Tom Scully (ankle) and Chad Wingard (calf), but Clarkson expects the pair to be back soon.

"(Scully) will play footy in the next two weeks, whether that's Box Hill (in the VFL) or Hawthorn, unless there's a hiccup - the same with Wingard," Clarkson said.

Clarkson also backed calls for a best-of-three grand final series, but is unsure how it would work.

He pointed to overseas, with competitions such as the NBA and Major League Baseball deciding their champions with play-offs.

"I actually like the idea, the concept - but how it would work, I'm not too sure," he said.

"It would be good to see a best of three of best of five, but in our game, how do you do that?"

Clarkson is no fan of the AFL's clampdown on runners and called the new rule an over-reaction.

It is part of several new rules brought in for this season and Clarkson said they needed four or five weeks before they can be assessed.

Clarkson has mixed feelings about the maligned AFLX, lauding its benefits for youngsters and women.

But he questioned where it fits into the AFL.

"It's a great concept - how it fits into the schedule of our season, I reckon it had whiskers on it, putting it in February," he said.

Australian Associated Press