Ex-Hawthorn coaches and players dominate senior coaching ranks

Anthony Roar Pro

By Anthony, Anthony is a Roar Pro

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38 Have your say

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • Roar Guru

      October 8th 2017 @ 9:06am
      Dalgety Carrington said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      I’m not sure it’s really legit to pad out your list with the current Hawthorn coach, slipped into the middle somewhere in the hopes that shifty move isn’t picked up on.

      But this sort of this goes in the “Comes with the Territory” file, as being involved in a premiership always gives your coaching application a boost. I’m not sure as to the point of this article, with the pretty tenuous links included with Dew and Scott.

      • Roar Pro

        October 8th 2017 @ 10:15am
        Anthony said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Of all Senior Coaches, Alastair Clarkson has the strongest link of all to the Hawthorn Hawks.

        Dew was a premiership player with the Hawks in 2008. While in that Hawks team, he would have learnt a heck of a lot about how the Hawks win.

        Scott, agree, and stated so in the article. Scott’s connection is the weakest in the list.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 11:24am
          Mattician6x6 said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          Your argument about dew and clarkson should take into account time at power together, really we could make a link between clarkson time at hawthorn and his time at port.

          • Roar Pro

            October 8th 2017 @ 11:48am
            Anthony said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            Fair call M36.

            Dew was a Port Power player for majority of his career. Led to a Premiership in 2004 and GF also in 2003. Add to that 3 minor premierships with Port and plenty of finals experience. For Dew, his time with Hawks as a player would have been icing on the top and added to his knowledge. No doubt, his playing career with both Port and then the Hawks helped him get the gig as an assistant coach with the Swans. Again another very successful club.

            With Clarkson, you are dead right. He was midfield coach in 2003 (Port’s GF loss to Lions), and also in 2004 (GF win against Lions). Would have brought a lot of his knowledge from Port to the Hawks in 2005 when he became Senior Coach of the Hawks.

            • October 8th 2017 @ 12:21pm
              Mattyb said | October 8th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              You could link Hardwick to Clarkson at Port as a player as well as an assistant at Hawthorn.

              • Roar Pro

                October 8th 2017 @ 2:08pm
                Anthony said | October 8th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

                Data seems to supports that link MattyB.

                As players at Port, Dew, Hardwick won 3 McLellan Trophies and the Premiership.
                As assistant coach at Port, Clarkson on deck for 2 McLellan’s and the Premiership.
                Couple of lean years for Port after loss of those key individuals (and no doubt others also), before returning to the big dance in 2007.

                2001 – 3rd (5th in finals) – (Players – Dew)
                2002 – 1st (3rd in finals) – (Players – Dew, Hardwick)
                2003 – 1st (4th in finals) – (Players – Dew, Hardwick, Assistant Coach – Clarkson)
                2004 – 1st (Premiers) – (Players – Dew, Hardwick, Assistant Coach – Clarkson)
                2005 – 8th (6th in finals)
                2006 – missed finals
                2007 – 2nd (GF runner up)

              • October 8th 2017 @ 4:04pm
                DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                Clarkson is a true innovator of the game who travelled the world to learn and develop his game plan, became the master of swinging players through various positions and valued the teaching foundations into how he trained his assistant coaches and players. If any coach truly paved their own unique way of doing thing’s it was the great Alastair Clarkson. He didn’t ride on anyone’s coat tails.

            • October 8th 2017 @ 8:06pm
              Pete said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

              Didn’t know Port made gf in 2003. I thought Collingwood got smashed by Brisbane in that one..

              • Roar Pro

                October 9th 2017 @ 1:22am
                Anthony said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:22am | ! Report

                My bad, Minor Premiers 2003.

    • October 8th 2017 @ 9:45am
      Tony Tea said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report


    • October 8th 2017 @ 9:58am
      DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      Another fine example cementing the Hawks team of 2008 – 2015 as the greatest ever team in VFL/AFL history. No team in history has experienced the level of staff raiding and IP loss going out the door like the Hawks administration suffered through and no other club could have weathered it. To top it off they did it in an era with the greatest ever equalisation methods imposed on the game and also does not mention the numerous executive positions the AFL raided in an attempt to destabilise the all mighty Hawthorn team.

      • October 8th 2017 @ 10:18am
        truetigerfan said | October 8th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        That era with the ‘greatest ever equalisation methods imposed on the game’ actually assisted the Hawks reign at the top. A very good team already, consistently picked up good players from other clubs allowing them to stay above all others, many of which were treading water, unable to load up at the draft with quality kids and unable, for whatever reasons, to attract decent players from other clubs. Equalisation is kicking in now, Hawks have come back to the field and expect the Cats to in the next few years. Well done to Hawthorn, and Geelong, for reading the lay of the land so well at the time!

        • October 8th 2017 @ 3:47pm
          DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          Equalisation is not the reason the Hawks have come back to the pack its due to their list ageing out, cumulative impact of lost players through free agency and the club trading their draft picks in the past for ready made players. Plus the fact the team was so good resulted in a lack of game time opportunity for their young players.
          Every team had the opportunity to trade for players and few teams suffered as much loss due to players lost through free agency.

          • October 8th 2017 @ 7:10pm
            New York Hawk said | October 8th 2017 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

            Add to that our entire admin and coaching ranks have been poached by opposing clubs. This article seems to focus a lot on the future and our move to Dingley, which is interesting given all that has happened in the last couple of weeks!

          • October 9th 2017 @ 9:07am
            truetigerfan said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

            You’re kidding yourself, Dean . . . ‘and few teams suffered as much loss due to players lost through free agency’. Who, apart from Buddy, did Hawthorn lose in this period? No player of note. Everything else you put forward supports my take on things. Their slide is a result of these past actions and methods!

            • October 9th 2017 @ 9:28am
              andyl12 said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

              Name a team who has managed their way out of a threepeat era more successfully.

      • October 8th 2017 @ 11:02am
        Mattyb said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Dean,it’s an interesting metric,personally I still think the greatest Hawthorn era was the side from the 80s. Best coach is harder to split,I’d have Jeans and Clarkson on par,I’d say Jeans was better at motivation while Clarkson better tactically. Good for the club to be able to have two such successful eras though.
        I think equalisation actually helped Hawthorn in that most of the talent went to two clubs which did stop other clubs bridging the gap,Hawthorn certainly have had their assistants raided though.
        It will be interesting how many ex Hawthorn players go on to coach. Another contender for the greatest VFL era ever would be Richmond in the late 60’s,70’s and they had an extraordinary amount of players go on to coach.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 3:39pm
          DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

          The Hawks team of the 80’s was truly great but in comparing the teams from different era’s the salary cap came in from 1987. At the time there were really only 5 teams that had any chance of winning then due to the rich and poor factor like the English premier league. Is it really surprising that the wealthiest clubs continued to dominate. Hawthorn were equally affected by expansion and like all other teams had the opportunity to trade picks for players. Free agency for years stripped Hawthorn of required players more than most despite many misinformed peoples opinion on free agency and Hawthorn. If you looked at who they lost and who they gained it was not that big a factor.

      • October 8th 2017 @ 1:51pm
        Joe said | October 8th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

        *Did it during the period immediately after two new clubs joined the competition, stretching the talent pool and halting the rebuilds of numerous clubs.

        Cats had a better W/L ratio during those years, and beat you 11 straight! I’d also argue you didn’t have to face teams as good as Saints in 09 and Magpies in 11 to win your flags. 2008 is the sole reason the record is in your favour… those half a hundred misses will never stop hurting.

        Also, something people don’t seem to be aware of: ex-Geelong coaches/assistants/players/managers/etc have in recent years led Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Bulldogs, Gold Coast, Bombers, Magpies, Tigers, Sydney and even been taken by the AFL itself. So much for “only Hawthorn could weather it”.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 3:58pm
          DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

          The Hawthorn team of 07-11 wouldn’t come within 6 goals of the Hawks 2012-2015 team, so that says a bit about the state of opposition in that era.
          Geelong not mentally strong enough to back-up and win consecutive years.
          LOL comparing the staff loses between Geelong and Hawthorn is as silly as arguing that 3 is a larger number than 7. So that still stands no team in history has ever suffered such loss of critical staff and still remained so successful. Clarkson was constantly forced to reinvigorate his game style.

          **Geelong had Thompson, the Weapon and Dank as a consultant through their dominant era.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 6:41pm
          Birdman said | October 8th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

          better call the butt hurt Cats fan a wambulance.

          you’ll always have your H&A superiority to keep you warm at night Joe, even if the Hawks have 5 AFL flags to your 3.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 7:19pm
          New York Hawk said | October 8th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

          Joe – you have a selective memory. Freo in 2013 were a better version of St Kilda in 2009. They even had the same coach for crying out loud! 2009 was your make up for 2008. The Saints kicked themselves out of the GF that day and Hawkins’ “goal” basically sealed it for you. We got lucky in 2008 but we’re unlucky in 2012. The Swans in 2014 were unbackable favorites. That is until they met one of the great GF day performances and were, literally and figuratively, pounded into the ground. The Collingwood 2011 win for the Cats was the best as it was against quality opposition and you actually deserved to win. Port Adelaide were the weakest side to play in GF since Melbourne in 2000.

          • October 8th 2017 @ 8:06pm
            Joe said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

            I agree with most of what you’ve said, but I think you’re forgetting the Saints in 2009 were a dominant side, who only lost a couple of matches at the end of the season when they had a top two spot sown up already. Why were Freo of 2013 better?

            Geelong had no strong opposition in 2007, I agree, but I can’t help thinking the Swans capitulated in that 2014 final. I remember a H&A MCG game that was a close between them, late season.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 12:43am
              New York Hawk said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:43am | ! Report

              Fair call re Saints being the dominant team in 2009. My memory had missed their long unbeaten run. My thought at the time was that they were peaking too early, which probably colored my comment. I don’t disagree that the Swans capitulated, but that was after the hawks hung in there at the beginning of the game and then physically smashed and intimidated them for the next quarter and a half. It’s easy to forget that the Swans were leadin halfway through the first quarter by a goal and our first two goals were long shots on angles by Poppy and Bruest, and Bruest’s in particular was a clutch kick. If we don’t kick them it is a different story. Even two mins into the second quarter afte McGlynn goaled, Swans down by only 14. for the physicality of the way the Hawks belted the Swans, just look at the footage of Roughie pummeling Hannebury. The 2014 GF is probably (IMO) the best game the club has played. I find it frustrating when all my Swans supporter mates in Sydney say that the Swans didn’t turn up that day and if hey had, they would have won. No, they turned up, were winning early on, couldn’t shake the Hawks on the scoreboard and were then pummeled to within an inch of their lives. Rant over.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 9:55am
                andyl12 said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

                “We didn’t turn up” is never an excuse for losing a Grand Final. Teams who don’t turn up on Grand Final day don’t deserve to be in future Grand Finals.

        • October 8th 2017 @ 7:38pm
          DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

          Geelong were not good enough to win consecutive grand finals and the Hawks team of 07-11 were vastly inferior to the Hawks team of 2012-2015 so that says a bit of the standings of opposition considering the Hawks were able to beat Geelong in 07,08 and seriously challenge in the following years.
          Geelong also had Thompson, the Weapon and consulted with Dank. The same trio that would end up working together at Essendon. Their involvement places a hefty asterix on Geelongs premiership era.

          • October 8th 2017 @ 8:12pm
            Joe said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

            The same is likewise true of Geelong, they were vastly stronger from 07-11, yet able to beat Hawthorn in the years after, and “seriously challenge” as you say. It’s almost like both sides had similar achievements, huh? I’m having a laugh at “consecutive”, that has to be every Hawthorn supporter’s favourite word, as if it’s of any significance. Geelong reached a prelim in 2004 and have only missed finals twice since. Looking forward to seeing how you blokes go in 2018 without Hodge.

            As for “hefty astorix”, I think you need to take the tinfoil off.

            • October 8th 2017 @ 8:22pm
              DeanM said | October 8th 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

              Similiar achievements? 4 will forever be a greater number than 3.
              Geelong had their chance but a combination of choking in 2008 and Thompson losing his marbles over Ablett and other pressures he faced denied Geelong the chance of been regarded the best ever.
              Consecutive premierships throughout all sporting codes is highly regarded. Hawks contested consecutive Premierships winning 3 straight after the 2012 Prelim final tampering by Demetriou.

              • October 8th 2017 @ 11:38pm
                Mattyb said | October 8th 2017 @ 11:38pm | ! Report

                Cmon Dean,we can’t be putting asterisks next to Geelong while overlooking Hawthorn getting home GFs and the compromised drafts. Having said that Hawthorn were far superior to Geelong,we don’t need asterisks bacause they were a better big game side,Geelong were a good side though.
                Personally I’d go Brisbane over Hawthorn,but I can see the Hawthorn argument.
                Hawthorn were a tough and skilful side across the board,Brisbane were harder and had more top end champions. They had some similar traits,when push comes to shove I’d like to see a Voss vs Hodge challenge,fans would have differing views how that would turn out but it would be good for football to see,Geelong never had anyone like that which is probably a big difference between the clubs.
                Hawthorn,Brisbane is a tough call,Geelong aren’t even in the reckoning. All great sides though.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 12:54am
                New York Hawk said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:54am | ! Report

                I really don’t understand the consecutive argument either, and my degree of hatred for a club or player (and I really hate Geelong and especially Paul Chapman) were perfectly correlated to how good they were. Although I would argue that Hawks did better in the big time games (marginally) I can’t imagine a club inflicting more frustration on me than Geelong. Those 11 wins in a row were the worst 11 games ever because 10 of them weeenso close and we lost every one of them! The 2013 Prelim was all the more satisfying though as a result. Being 20 points down at 3/4 time against your bogey side and winning was unbelievable (thank you Shaun Burgoyne). So to summarize some random thoughts, I think Geelong were outstanding and whether they won three in a row or three in five years is irrelevant. They were an amazing team that this Hawks supporter is glad existed. You can’t have a hero without a villain…

              • October 9th 2017 @ 1:01am
                New York Hawk said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:01am | ! Report

                I would probably go Voss over Hodge, and I loved Hodgey as much as anyone. The thing is, there have only been a few players who have pulled on a pair of fotty boots that have been better than Voss. Voss was the best player in the best team and the best in the league for a few years. Hodge had to fill a number of roles for the Hawks and was unbelievable in all of them, but meant that while he was probably the most versatile player for a while, he probably wasn’t considered the best in any given position, save 2010 where he was as close to the best player in the competition as you could get without being that. So Voss for mine.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 8:26am
                andyl12 said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

                “Cmon Dean,we can’t be putting asterisks next to Geelong while overlooking Hawthorn getting home GFs and the compromised drafts”

                Yes we can. None of Hawthorn’s A-graders came through compromised drafts and the MCG tenancy was something Geelong could’ve had if they weren’t so wedded to their let’s-play-in-a-park attitude.

                Geelong could move to the MCG any time they want. But they won’t, because then they’ll have no excuses when they keep losing finals there.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 8:23am
          andyl12 said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          “I’d also argue you didn’t have to face teams as good as Saints in 09 and Magpies in 11 to win your flags.”

          Maybe Hawthorn’s opposition only looked inferior because the Hawks were so far superior to them. Remember that the Swans side of ’14 was said to be on the verge of a dynasty until we showed how soft they really were.

    • October 8th 2017 @ 6:22pm
      Mick_Lions said | October 8th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

      It will be interesting to see how many of the Hawks and Cats players end up in the top job.
      Sam Mitchell is a shoe in. Hodge may catch the bug up at the Lions. Stevie J could well make it.
      The Brisbane Lions under Mathews have had 4 senior coaches from their playing stocks. Vossy and Leppa are back in assistant ranks but both the Scott brothers have contracts.
      Chris Fagan has stated that the system Clarko set up is a “coaches university”. So while he is at the reigns i would assume that there will be many more senior coaches coming from both the assistant and ex player ranks.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 8:31am
      RandyM said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Similar to the Canberra Raiders in the NRL, with several club and rep team coaches who were all at the Raiders at some point.

      • Roar Pro

        October 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm
        Anthony said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        That is a good analogy with the Canberra Raiders aka the green machine.

        Again this is a highly respected team and being part of that team adds credibility for the coach.

        Ricky Stewart (NSW Blues, Canberra Raiders/Sydney Roosters)
        Mal Meninga (QLD Maroons and Australian Kangaroos, Raiders 1997-2001)
        Laurie Daley (NSW Blues coach)
        Craig Belamy (Melbourne Storm/ NSW Blues)
        David Furner (former Raiders coach)

        Wayne Bennett (albeit he was a coach of the Raiders in 1987, not a player).

    • Roar Guru

      October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am
      Paul D said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      The focus of this article is all wrong. The real reason for this prevalence is Alistair Clarkson, not Hawthorn.

      You could argue the Hawks showed great character in identifying him and supporting him, but don’t forget either your former and now current president wanted to demote him to the VFL coaching role. If he hadn’t won in 2008 he never would have been supported long enough to get to 2013. Kennett would have torched him.
      Here’s an alternative take on your listing too.

      1. Hardwick – great man manager, players love him and play for him. Tactically not that sharp. Learned all his man management skills from Chris Fagan.
      2. Beveridge – only flourished once he got out from under Clarko’s thumb
      3. Clarko – well, he is a genius. But that’s all to do with him, not Hawthorn.
      4. Simpson – can he actually coach? A lot of people seem to think he’s not much good at the Eagles. Way too tolerant of poor efforts, and needs to put a broom through his side.
      5. Cameron – big question marks as well. Has crashed his orange lamborghini into the wall twice in finals now.
      6. Bolton – happy smiling face, but all he’s shown he can do so far is make Carlton slightly less terrible, but still terrible.
      7. Fagan – the real power behind the throne. Psychiatrist and coach par excellence.
      8. Dew – learned all his footy at Port Adelaide, and his signing was all to do with Clarko’s brilliance in seeing he was exactly the player they needed for finals.
      9. Brad Scott – this is about as tenuous as it gets. ‘Hawks’ great Leigh Matthews too, take your hand off it, he never coached a day in his life at Hawthorn as senior coach, his coaching greatness was from his stints at Collingwood and Brisbane.

      Honestly if this is the sort of self indulgent back slapping we can expect as Hawthorn teaches the rest of us cretins how to play football I’d rather remain proudly independent of Dingley and remain independently rubbish.

      • Roar Pro

        October 9th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Anthony said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        Yes Clarkson is a common denominator. Had he remained at Port Power, would all the other coaches have still made it to the top?

        At the very least, having a premiership credentialed team like the Hawks (or any other club) on your CV increases your credibility and supports a club’s ability to make the Senior Coaching appointment in the first place.

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