Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has detailed his surprise and disappointment at seeing Hawthorn counterpart Alastair Clarkson effectively forced out of the AFL club.
Fagan was one of Clarkson’s right-hand men in the Hawks’ football department during a golden era that delivered four premierships, before moving to the Lions at the end of 2016.
The pair locked horns on Sunday in Launceston, where Hawthorn produced a stunning 12-point upset of finals-bound Brisbane to move away from the bottom of the ladder.
It came after the Hawks ended weeks of speculation on Friday by confirming Clarkson will leave the club at the end of the season and hand the reins to Sam Mitchell.
“It’s an interesting situation they find themselves in,” Fagan said.
“I would’ve thought of all the coaches in the AFL that the one guy that might’ve had the opportunity to go out on his terms and with a little bit of dignity would have been Clarko.
“But it seems from a distance that hasn’t been the case.
“I hope he’s not lost to footy, he’s a brilliant coach and his team played for him today.”
Fagan said he has “enormous respect” for Clarkson and is “sad to see” one of the greatest coaches of the modern era won’t continue at Hawthorn.
The Hawks are replacing Clarkson with former midfield champion Mitchell, who has been an assistant coach at West Coast and Hawthorn since retiring from playing in 2017.
Mitchell has also been in charge of VFL team Box Hill.
Hawthorn have been heavily criticised for their handling of Clarkson’s departure after 17 seasons at the helm.
“I’m not there so I don’t know all the inner workings, I’m only making an observation from a distance, but it just seems to me it could have happened in a better way,” Fagan said.