He stopped short of calling it cheating, but Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has expressed his distaste over the AFL tactics West Coast players are using to win free kicks for high tackles.
The Selwood brothers – Adam, Scott and Geelong’s Joel – have become renowned for their ‘shoulder shrug’ technique, which often leads to a tackler’s arms slipping high.
The shrug-and-duck tactic is catching on quickly at the Eagles, who used it to good effect in Saturday night’s five-point win over the Hawks in Perth.
West Coast won the free-kick count 33-23, with the Hawks penalised for a series of head-high tackles in the slippery conditions.
Clarkson denied his team had a tackling technique problem, and instead pointed the finger at West Coast’s players for their questionable tactics.
“I don’t think it’s a technique thing with us, I think it’s a technique thing with them,” Clarkson said.
“They shrug the tackle and get high tackles better than any club in the competition.
“(Ashton) Hams, (Scott) Selwood, (Daniel) Kerr, (Matt) Priddis, these type of guys shrug their shoulders.
“Young (Scott) Selwood has probably learned it from his brother (Adam).
“They’re outstanding at it and so is Joel.
“The free kicks were there but for mine, it’s just like ducking your head.
“You’re trying to shrug the tackle and your tackle starts off as being chest high or waist high and with the shrug it happens to get them around the neck.
“They’ve contributed to that and I reckon it’s something that we need to look at.
“They’ve been taking full advantage of it for a long period of time and we’ve either got to join them or get the rule changed. I think we’ve probably got to join them.”
Clarkson was confident defender Grant Birchall, who missed the 5.21 (51) to 5.16 (46) loss to West Coast with a knee injury, would be fit to take on Sydney in Tasmania next Sunday.
But skipper Luke Hodge (calf) may be eased back through VFL ranks.
West Coast coach John Worsfold was quietly confident Luke Shuey would be fit for next Sunday’s clash with Richmond at Eithad Stadium despite the star midfielder damaging the AC joint in his right shoulder.
Shuey played out the match with the injury, but was in obvious pain every time he received contact to the joint.
“We’ll still do all the precautionary work of scans to make sure we know what the issue is,” Worsfold said.
The Eagles failed to kick a goal in the opening half against the Hawks, but still managed to notch their fourth straight win of the season and maintain top spot on the table.
Hawks forward Lance Franklin had another wayward night with 1.6, but Clarkson said the slippery conditions played a big role in his inaccuracy.