Alastair Clarkson confirms shock link to 'no brainer' AFL move

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·Sports Reporter
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Alastair Clarkson will consult for the Tasmanian bid for an AFL team.
Former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has been announced as an advisor to the group bidding for Tasmania to be granted an AFL team. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Former Hawthorn head coach Alastair Clarkson has stunned the AFL world by committing to Tasmania's bid to secure an AFL team in the state.

Tasmanian state premier Peter Gutwein announced the involvement of Clarkson, 53, on Thursday.

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Clarkson has previously been an advocate for the state to be given the license to run its own team, with the Hawks enjoying a longstanding partnership with the state.

Now spending a year in the United States after his lengthy spell as head coach of the Hawks, which included four premierships, Clarkson had already expressed major interest in the role.

For the time being, Clarkson will officially be considered an 'advisor' for the Tasmanian bid, a role which will reportedly include holding direct conversations with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.

"Alastair will use his existing knowledge and access to prime American sports teams to provide specification on what is required for a best-of-breed training and high performance centre," Mr Gutwein said.

"He'll also provide input on the best way to engage with ex-Tasmanian AFL players, here and interstate."

Mr Gutwein said Clarkson's initial engagement will be for six months and include specific interaction with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

Clarkson, who has said he is open to coaching a side based in Tasmania, will also provide advice on development pathways and membership efforts.

"The services of Alastair Clarkson ... is a significant boost to the team we're taking forward and takes us one step closer to our aspiration of having an AFL licence," Mr Gutwein said.

The 18 AFL clubs will vote next year on whether Tasmania should have its own team.

Alastair Clarkson commits to Tasmania AFL bid

An independent report on the merits of a club in Tasmania, by former Geelong president Colin Carter, was released earlier this year and and found the state deserves its own side.

Last month, Clarkson urged the Tasmanian bid to take a patient approach, saying it would need five or six years to establish local talent pathways so a foundation AFL team could have a decent proportion of home-grown talent.

Asked if he would consider being the team's inaugural coach, or having a significant role, Clarkson replied "without a doubt".

Alastair Clarkson coached his final game for Hawthorn this season, with Hawks champion Shaun Burgoyne also retiring from the game. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Alastair Clarkson coached his final game for Hawthorn this season, with Hawks champion Shaun Burgoyne also retiring from the game. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"Certainly from this far out, if I was unemployed like I am now, I'd be putting my hand up big time to get involved in such an exciting venture," he said.

"I think it's a no-brainer."

However, Clarkson also nominated former Hawthorn colleagues Chris Fagan and Brendon Bolton as Tasmanian natives who would have a lot to offer if there was a local AFL team.

It was revealed this week that Clarkson has wasted little time in his sabbatical, after ending his 17-year term as Hawks coach two months ago.

He has gone to the US to visit professional sporting organisations, examine business opportunities and study. 

With AAP

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