Clarko’s State of Play: The Popular Favourite, Wildcard and the Homecoming Chat That Won’t Go Away

The number of clubs considering a switch Alastair Clarkson seems to have declined in recent weeks.

But there’s now an obvious hot favorite and a wild card, while the prospect of a romantic homecoming still lingers.

Clarkson admitted earlier this year that he… strongly consider a return to the AFL coaching sphere after several months of development abroad.

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The fact that Clarkson – the best AFL coach of the modern era and the biggest free agent in the coaching market – will be available at the end of the season is causing chaos in the coaching landscape.

But you can cross off the list one club that could have been in the mix for Clarkson’s services, with… Gold Coast on Wednesday the announcement of iI had extended the coach’s contract Stuart Dew with two years.

Reports in March suggested the AFL wanted Clarkson to coach Gold Coast† But in the end you felt that Clarkson never really had the prospect of coaching the Suns. That’s not because of the list or club itself, but because of his relationship with Dew.

Alastair Clarkson and Stuart Dew after the 2008 flag. Photo: Michael DodgeSource: News Limited

Clarkson, during a AFL 360 appearance in May, talked about how uncomfortable it was to be connected with the suns considering how much he respected Dew, who was recruited by Clarkson to finish his career at Hawthorn and eventually played a major role in the 2008 flag.

And if Clarkson ever expected… St Kilda to show genuine interest – and there was clearly outside encouragement for the Saints to pick up the phone – that is unlikely to materialize now, with multiple reports pointing to a contract extension for the Saints coach Brett Ratten be announced shortly.

With the suns and saints seemingly out of the picture, the GWS GiantsClarkson’s position at the front of the queue has only been strengthened.

The Giants were the first club to move into the coaching market in May when they and Leon Cameron separate ways. 7 News Melbourne introduced earlier this week Clarkson had moved up the ranks with Giants in recent weeks — although Fox Footy host Mark Robinson suggested on AFL 360 no formal meeting had yet taken place as the club was still trying to establish whether Clarkson really wanted to coach in 2022.

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Ex-Essendon coach James Hirdwho joined the Giants in a leadership advisory role earlier this year was identified as a candidate — especially after being asked by interim coach Mark McVeigh to take a more hands-on role after Cameron’s departure. But Giants football boss Jason McCartney stated on Sunday that Hird was “not really interested in the senior position”

Other coaches on that wish list include McVeigh, Adam Yze and Don Pyke

McVeigh has been spinning the magnets and letting the Giants play with freedom for the past six weeks, resulting in three wins and three losses. But double All-Australian Leigh Montagna told Fox Footy’s first tear on Sunday night, he hadn’t seen any noticeable tactics or moves from McVeigh that suggested he should be the Giants’ top priority to become the next full-time coach.

Considered one of the best assistant coaches in the industry, Yze narrowly missed the Adelaide job in 2019 that was eventually given to Matthew Nicks before moving from Hawthorn to Melbourne and playing a key role in the drought-breaking flag of the demons. Pyke led Adelaide to the 2017 Grand Final and multiple finals and played a key role in the Swans becoming a bigger offensive threat since he joined the club as an assistant coach.

But Channel 7 reporter Mitch Cleary suggested earlier this week that the four-time premiership coach was “clearly number 1 at the top” of the Giants’ wish list.

Montagna lashes out at Noble’s ‘mixed messages’ | 03:42

Clarkson suggested to: AFL 360 in May, his main motivation for returning to the cutthroat coaching world was the prospect of adding another premiership to the four he won in Hawthorn.

Therefore, a collaboration between Clarkson and Giants would make sense, as the Giants seem closer to a flag than other teams that could be in the market for a coach at the end of the season.

And it’s also why a Clarkson-North Melbourne partnership seems unlikely at first glance. But few in the industry would be surprised if the kangaroos would at least contact him.

Clarkson, himself a former North Melbourne player, AFL 360 in May praised the Kangaroos’ emerging talent before delivering this unsolicited throw-away line: “Some ask ‘would you coach North?’ Yeah yeah…”

Since that comment, the Kangaroos’ losing streak has gone from six to 13 straight games — with an average loss margin of 63 points — prompting the club’s board to enlist the services of veteran administrator Geoff Walsh to secure a loss. four-week assessment of the football department. And after Saturday’s 112 point loss against Geelong, several footy experts believe it’s hard to see David Noble as senior coach of North in 2023

“Alastair Clarkson is the biggest name outside of football,” Robinson said AFL 360 on Monday evening.

“The Kangaroos may be looking for a coach. So do they sit there and go ‘no let’s wait (until the review is done)’? Or is someone from the club making contact with Alastair Clarkson?

“That’s really disrespectful to David Noble, so maybe they’ll go early and say (to Noble): ‘We have to be honest with you, we don’t think you’ll be here next year and we have to act fast because there might be other clubs on it. looking for a coach – and that coach is Alastair Clarkson.’”

But of all 18 clubs, the Kangaroos – who gutted their roster last season – are arguably the furthest from a premiership, so it’s hard to see the Roos as Clarkson’s club of choice from that point of view.

Although, some would say west coast could start behind North as the club is expected to lose several veterans and veteran players in the coming years, while the Kangaroos started that process two years ago. So given that prospect, as well as: Adam Simpson declare that he wants to stay and the Eagles declaring that they want Simpson to stay, Clarkson won’t go west.

The wildcard is Essendonwhich was arguably the league’s most disappointing team in 2022, as it ranks in the bottom four after reaching the final last year.

Ben Rutten is now 15 games into the second season of a three-year deal after John Worsfold handed him the coaching reins in a club-orchestrated transfer. The idea that he would be competing so early in his tenure seems utterly far-fetched, especially after last year’s top eight.

But the Bombers – a proud but success-starved club for two decades – are 16th on the ladder with a 4-11 record. While they have shown promising signs in the past three weeks – including wins over St Kilda and Sydney – Kangaroo’s dual premiership has featured David King multiple times this season. exclaimed Essendon for a lack of “standards” and be too easy to score against and move the ball against.

Ben Rutten, Senior Coach of the Bombers. Photo: Darrian TraynorSource: Getty Images

After the loss of Essendon to West Coast, club legend Matthew Lloyd said Rutten “should be under pressure for his job” and suggested that Clarkson could be the spark that helps wake the bombers from their “sleep”.

So would Clarkson entertain the Bombers? He wouldn’t have to move to the other states, he would take over a major Melbourne club that is well in the works and has the potential to return to September in 2023 and beyond. But after serving Hawthorn for 17 years and delivering four flags, would he be willing to side with the Hawks’ arch-rival?

Then Robinson pitched another club Monday night — a club where Clarkson had success as an assistant coach before joining Hawthorn.

“What happens if Port Adelaide’s bum drops out of this year’s competition? What happens if it completely fails and Kenny (Hinkley) will Port Adelaide speak to Alastair Clarkson? Of course they do,” Robinson said.

There is still plenty to play in the last seven rounds of the home and away season for all sides.

But there’s a big, big noise in the west of the city – and it’s the noise of a giant leap forward in the race for Clarkson’s services.

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