THE AFL has reiterated its stance that there won't be a change to the new runner restrictions, despite Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson saying he was in the dark on the situation.
The four-time premiership coach told AFL.com.au last week he wasn't going to be vocal on the topic and that "you've got to pick your battles".
However, Clarkson was strong on the runner rules – specifically the "dramatic" shift from limitless messages in 2018 to only post-goals this year – at a coaches' meeting at AFL House last Thursday and again on SEN radio on Monday.
He issued the AFL with a Monday deadline for greater "clarity" ahead of round one, although League officials argue nothing has changed, or will change, from the rule alteration in October.
"I don't think this is a battle I necessarily have to fight," Clarkson told AFL.com.au on Wednesday last week.
"(Former Hawthorn assistants-turned-AFL coaches) 'Bevo' (Luke Beveridge) and 'Fages' (Chris Fagan) and some others are a lot stronger on it than me.
"It doesn't happen in any other sport in the world where you're allowed a guy on the ground with directions from the coach to tell them what they should be doing."
Clarkson would like to see a more gradual decrease in runner use, comparing it to the way interchange rotations were slowly cut back after an initial suggestion of a drastic one.
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"Now, it's not even an issue. There's about 80 and everyone seems pretty happy with that and everyone's become used to it and that's what it is," he said.
"I reckon they should do the same thing, in my view, with the runners. You've had full access to runners for 40 or 50 years – longer – so to take that back to close to zero (isn't right).
"I can't speak on behalf of the 17 other clubs, but there's hardly a message that goes from our coaching box to the runner to go out onto the ground.
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"We'll have messages that go from the coaches' box to the players who are on the interchange bench and we'll use them, in a sense, as our runners."
Clarkson's alternative options include runners being allowed on the field up to six times a quarter or runners having a set period of time they can spend on the ground.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will appear on AFL360 on Monday night, where the topic is likely to be discussed.