Ex-Hawthorn coaches and players dominate senior coaching ranks

Andrew Roar Pro

By , Andrew is a Roar Pro

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    If you support an AFL club, chances are your club’s senior coach has a connection either as a player or a coach with the Hawthorn Hawks.

    Coaching connection with Hawks
    1. Damien Hardwick (Richmond Tigers – GF Champion 2017). Former Hawks assistant coach.
    2. Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs – GF Champion 2016). Former Hawks assistant coach.
    3. Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn Hawks – GF Champion 2008, 2013-15). Hawks senior Coach
    4. Adam Simpson (West Coast – MCG GF Runner up 2015). Former Hawks assistant coach.
    5. Leon Cameron (GWS – preliminary finalist 2016, 2017). Former Hawks assistant coach.
    6. Brendon Bolton (Carlton Blues – appointed for 2016). Former Hawks assistant coach.
    7. Chris Fagan (Brisbane Lions – appointed for 2017). Former Hawks Head of Coaching, and from 2013 General Manager of Football.

    Former Hawks players
    8. Stuart Dew (Gold Coast Suns – appointed 2018). 2008 Hawks Premiership player
    9. Brad Scott (North Melbourne – appointed 2010). Played one season with Hawks in 1997, formerly trained under from Hawks great Leigh Matthews at the Brisbane Lions. This is perhaps the weakest connection from the list.

    That is nine out of 18 clubs with senior coaches who were formerly employed by the Hawks – 50 per cent. This may not be that surprising though. The Hawks were after all the champion team of the past decade, managing four premierships and five grand final appearances over the span of eight seasons.

    The scary thing is, into the future, this domination could well continue.

    At the end of 2016, the Hawks purchased 28 hectares of land at Dingley. Provided funds can be secured, within 5-10 years this is set to become a truly world class facility.

    Perhaps one of the smarter moves with the Dingley site are plans for multiple playing ovals. The centrepiece ground will replicate the MCG playing dimensions. Another ground will mirror the dimensions of Etihad Stadium.

    Damien Hardwick Trent Cotchin Richmond Tigers AFL Grand Final 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Being a professional organisation like the Hawks, one would assume they will be looking to get the right pitch and fall of the ground, so the ball bounces as it would at the MCG. They would also no doubt look to mirror the MCG and Etihad ground orientations so even the angle of the sun replicates game conditions.

    This will give the Hawks an even greater edge over opponents.

    With the Dingley site, the Hawks are about to become an even stronger destination club for both coaches and players alike. It is foreseeable that with further on-field success, other AFL clubs will continue to recruit from the Hawks coaching ranks.

    In the short term, heading into the 2018 season, will yet another former Hawks-associated coach take their team to glory in 2018? Tigers? GWS? West Coast? The odds that one of the nine ex-Hawthorn-connected coaches can lead their team to the promised land are 50-50. No different to a toss of a coin on Anzac day.