Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has called Alastair Clarkson’s scathing assessment of the state of AFL game play a major “overreaction”, suggesting that coaches generally do not care about how the game looks as long as they win.
Clarkson raised eyebrows on the weekend after the Hawks’ thrilling win over the Kangaroos, lamenting the congested and defensive style of play in today’s AFL.
“Tonight’s game … if that’s the spectacle that we’re trying to search for in our game, then our game’s in a dreadful space,” the four-time premiership winner said.
However, the comments were slammed by Cornes, who said Clarkson’s comments were a gross overreaction.
“Really disappointed in Alastair Clarkson’s comments for him to say the game is in a dreadful state,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“We are three games into a revised fixture where the players have hardly trained for eight weeks, they can’t train in contact sessions for more than once a week and the restrictions on them mean that the skills are going to be down.
“It’s one of the great overreactions I’ve seen from a coach.”
Cornes also highlighted the hypocrisy in Clarkson, one of the greatest defensive coaches in AFL history, complaining about the ultra-defensive nature of today’s game.
“There were some terrific games played on the weekend and I’m not sure we should be listening to AFL coaches on the state of the game,” he said.
“All coaches care about in my experience is winning. They do not care about the state of the game.
“Clarko might be different because he’s got four premierships and he can move on with a greater lens on it, but the average coach cares about winning.
“There’s nothing wrong with the game. Yes we could tweak some rules, but Alastair Clarkson overreacted.”
Cornes’ suggestion was backed up by Essendon great Matthew Lloyd, who said the AFL’s best coaches will find a way to get around any new rules introduced in the hope of reducing congestion in the game.
“I don’t think it’s off the back of one round, this has been coming for a fair while,” he told Footy Classified.
“This has been probably a year or two in the making where the game hasn’t been what it used to be.
“The scoring is getting less and less and everything that they try doesn’t seem to work.
“I think he problem with it is that these coaches will always be one, two, three, maybe 10 steps ahead of anyone trying to bring in rules.
“Any rule that comes in, they spend months and months working out how to expose it so they’re always chasing their tail.”