Kane Cornes has taken the AFL to task after the league seemingly bowed to criticism from Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson over the state of the game.
Clarkson was among a number of AFL figures to bemoan the ‘dreadful’ state of the game after Hawthorn's four-point win over North Melbourne last weekend.
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Geelong’s dour clash with the Demons was also widely panned, with both contests bogged down in slow, unimaginative ball movement, with overpopulated stoppages making for difficult spectacles to watch.
Clarkson was at a loss to explain how his team laid 69 tackles against the Roos and didn't receive a single tackle-specific free kick.
“What's happened to our game? You can't have that many tackles and not one of them be incorrect disposal,” the coach said.
"You wonder why the game is an arm wrestle and that you can't get any open footy.
“Tonight's game ... if that's the spectacle that we're trying to search for in our game, then our game's in a dreadful space.”
After Clarkson claimed “the AFL can’t be happy” with the current product, the league actually stepped into action and warned clubs that umpires would be cracking down on holding the ball indiscretions moving forward.
Kane Cornes shocked by Clarkson powerplay
But that edict has shocked Cornes, who was left gobsmacked that the league is reacting to Clarkson’s complaints.
“How can we have a game where all it takes for a rule change is a coach to come out and have a sook midway through the season?” Cornes said on SEN radio on Thursday.
“This is extraordinary that the AFL has informed clubs that they are changing the interpretation of the rule mid-year on the back of one of the 18 coaches criticising the rule.
“How much power can one coach have over the course, the direction and the interpretation of the game?
“It is extraordinary the power that this man wields over the competition and I can’t believe that the AFL are bowing to this.”
While Cornes admits there are a number of areas that need to be fixed, the Port Adelaide champion was left stunned that Clarkson wielded so much power over officials.
“Yes, of course have a look at some you got wrong but you don’t come out and alert all the clubs that you are making a significant adjudication adjustment in the rule just because a premiership coach comes out and says that it’s not good enough,” Cornes said.
“I honestly nearly fell off my chair when I heard this last night and the power that Alastair Clarkson has over those at the AFL continues to surprise me.
“Why is Clarko the judge and the jury on this one? Why is he the only voice?
“Whether it’s good for the game or not, the power he has to change the interpretation of a whole rule mid-season, it’s just unprecedented.
“No other coach in the comp would have that power. I can’t believe the AFL are bowing just to keep the Hawthorn coach happy.
“That’s basically what they’re doing. ‘Let’s make sure we keep Clarko happy’. What a joke.”