Monday, January 23, 2017

The '3rd Era' of Alastair Clarkson's Coaching reign

“I know what the papers are going to say — that it’s the end of an era, that they’re too old and too slow. We’ll just have a little bit of a break, reload and go again."

( Alastair Clarkson, September 17, 2016 )

Ironically, every decision made since has pointed to the concession of the era ending.

With the pushing of best and Fairest winner Sam Mitchell and fan favourite Jordan Lewis out the door standouts. Unpopular moves accompanied by fluffy spins from the Club, but the reality was both were salary cap purges needed to include the trio of recruits in Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara and Ty Vickery.

Adding two contested ball winning beasts in the guts and a marking one forward.

The moves dictating the need for Clarko's keeping off style of uncontested footy relying on quick movement and the space it afforded to shred teams with their foot skills to evolve. With teams filling the space and forcing Hawthorn into a more contested style exposing our midfield to a weekly flogging where they couldn't get first use of the footy. In the process laying waste to our defence that was so reliant on safety in numbers commandeered by Gibbo zoning off in support. With the opposition fast and precise entries from always having first use of the footy isolating the defence on one on one duels it was ruthlessly exposed. Equally. the forward line that was lethal due to its 'chaos thery' revolving around 6-10 player rotating freely in and out of it getting goals in transition or set shots from the space they always had to run into was silenced.

With slow, laboured entries from further afield killing the movement and stifling the space it exposed our lack of a contested marking element on the forward line, neutering its effectiveness and having us killed on the rebound out of defence.

Depressingly, our forward line that resembled a virtual murders row during the threepeat was now a very exploitable weakness

Away from the issues on the field, Luke Hodge abdicating the leadership recently was the final nail in the era.

With Jarryd Roughead anointed as his successor and it ushering in the 3rd era of Alastair Clarkson's reign as coach of the Club,

With the preceding ones as follows:

2005-2007- Regaining respect/stability- Richie Vandenburg

I always think fans pay little respect to Vandenburg's pivotal role in the future success of the Club.

With him taking over the Captaincy from Shane Crawford with the Club a laughing stock and Crawford remarked more for his antics on the Footy Show rather than his leadership of the club.

I still go all jugular, Parkin style when I hear 'Hank Bulger'

The silent and strong persona of Richie cut out all the crap at the Club centring around a want for the most fashionable hairstyle, spray on tans and trendy offseason tattoo giving us back our respect.

Summing up our previous shame was this jibe from fans of 'The Filth': 

' Hawthorn players wear tanning lotion, Essendon players wear liniment'

Crucially, his time in charge shielded the likes of Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge from exposure to early by taking bullets in a difficult time for the club. It would have been easy to throw either into Captaincy before they were ready and have them ruined as in the case of Jack Trengrove/Jack Grimes were  at Melbourne.

2008-2016- Contention/Ruling Era- Sam Mitchell/Luke Hodge 

Vandenburg set out the canvas for the duo of Mitchell and Hodge as Captain's to rule.

Mitchell's first year in tenure saw him lift a flag with him very able in the role.

He was replaced by Hodge in 2011, a move that was an upgrade on Sam's excellence culminating in Hodge being a valid contender to be Captain of our team of the century when it is revisited in 2025.

With him held in the same esteem as legendary leaders Graham Arthur and the peerless Don Scott.

2017- Emotional Era- Jarryd Roughead

I was a bit taken aback by the appointment of Roughead, viewing it more as an emotional rather than rational choice.

With Roughead returning from a Cancer battle, I thought it would have been wiser to let him ease back into the game rather than burden him with the Captaincy in a time where the Club is undergoing a makeover.

The change of leadership was perfect in its timing, with Hodge and Gibbo still at the Club and included in the leadership group to act as mentors to the new leader.

But I thought it would have been wiser appointing Liam Shiels, Jack Gunston or Ben Stratton.

In defence of Roughead, the groundswell of support from the playing group in the wake of his battle and the fact he is universally loved will make all tight in support.

There is little doubt that the big Rough will do a great job and it will be interesting to see the onfield role he plays in 2017, and beyond. Most commented over the struggles on our forward line in his absence in 2016, but I thought he was more missed in the midfield where his big frame smashed alleys for the smaller mids to operate in as well as his underrated contested ball winning ability.

He has the tank to be a similar type of big midfielder that Adam Goodes and Matthew Pavlich were. And in an era where big mids play such a role it would be wise to use him in this role.

Above all, it is so heartwarming to see the Chmpion bloke fit and well and set up to bring more joy to the Hawk faithful.

Lets face it, we are suffering with our current Premiership drought 

Jack Ardill Caricature Deadpan Art

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