Main content

Why did Clarkson call himself a 'clown'?

Clarkson: 'We didn't make good choices' Alastair Clarkson gave credit to Geelong but also feels his side squandered plenty of opportunities going forward

THE GULF in experience between Hawthorn and Geelong on Easter Monday was a key factor in the Hawks' latest defeat, coach Alastair Clarkson says.

Clarkson twice referenced "experience" in his post-match media conference after the Cats returned to top spot on the ladder with a 23-point win over Hawthorn.

CATS SHOW THEIR CLASS Full match coverage and stats

The Hawks, on the other hand, slipped four rungs to 13th with their third loss in five rounds to start the season as Clarkson's last-ditch coaching moves left him looking more like a "clown" than a genius, by his own admission. 

"We had enough chances right throughout the course of the day," Clarkson said. 

"It was a game that both sides, at different stages, looked really damaging with the ball … (but) Geelong's really good players played better in important moments. 

"The polish of the Dangerfields and Abletts and Selwoods and Kellys and these types of guys; they probably just overwhelmed us in the end, just with experience and knowing how to get through tight situations. 

"They were just a bit better than us in those situations." 


Clarkson was disappointed in the Hawks' ball movement throughout the afternoon, pointing to the Cats scoring 10.6 out of their 17.11 (113) scoreline from turnovers.

That part of the game was also why Geelong's small forwards, such as Gary Rohan, Gary Ablett, Luke Dahlhaus and Gryan Miers were so prominent compared to their Hawthorn counterparts. 

"What broke down was our lack of polish and being able to connect. When you can't connect in chains of possession, that's the difference in the sides," Clarkson said. 

"It was all down to ball movement and their guys got the supply and our guys didn't. 

"(Luke) Breust, (Paul) Puopolo, (Chad) Wingard and (Jack) Gunston, in the second half when he went forward, they couldn't get the same opportunities as what the Geelong guys did." 

Gunston spent most of the day in defence, owing to Ben Stratton's concussion-related late withdrawal, James Frawley's absence and the introduction of Mitch Lewis to the forward line. 

Clarkson was non-committal about which end the All Australian forward would play in the coming weeks.

"Whether we do it next week or not, (who knows)?" he said. 

"We got halfway through the third quarter and we thought, 'Let's try 'Gunno' back up forward again and see if he can get us a goal' because the game was just starting to slip away from us. 

"That didn't work for us. You try different things in games and when they come off, you're a supposed genius and when they don't, you're a clown, so clown today for me."

WATCH Alastair Clarkson's full post-match media conference 

Red-time goals were also a problem for Hawthorn in Monday's game, starting with Rohan kicking the first two of his four goals in a purple patch right on quarter-time. 

Geelong also kicked the final two majors of the second and third terms, after Clarkson highlighted on Sunday his players' inability to run out games against the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda.

"I think that's where experience comes in, too," the coach said.

"We're four-goals-to-two up in a pretty spirited first quarter and with a minute in the quarter left on the clock, Rohan scores the last two goals of the quarter. 

"So we just live and learn as we go through. We have a young group that's getting exposure and coming up against good sides. 

"Geelong is top of the ladder for a reason … and we were pretty spirited today in our endeavours to have a crack at them and at different stages, particularly early, we were looking really, really good, but we just couldn't maintain that."