Alastair Clarkson ripped by Caroline Wilson over boundary-line behaviour

The AFL journalist's take on the North Melbourne coach has sparked criticism.

Alastair Clarkson, pictured here on the boundary with his North Melbourne players.
Alastair Clarkson spent a big chunk of time on the boundary with his North Melbourne players. Image: Fox Footy/Getty

AFL journalist Caroline Wilson has criticised Alastair Clarkson over his behaviour on the boundary-line during North Melbourne's thrilling one-point win over Fremantle. The coach spent a large chunk of time down on the boundary with his players on the bench, giving high-fives as they came off the field and cheering his charges on.

The majority saw Clarkson's behaviour as a passionate coach getting down to the coalface of the action, rather than sitting in a box way above the ground. But veteran journalist Wilson didn't see it that way, hitting out at Clarkson on Monday night.

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Speaking on 'Footy Classified' on Channel 9, Wilson said: “He almost came a cropper on Saturday night with this behaviour. The high-fiving with everyone, then there’s the arms widened at an umpiring decision and mock exasperation.

“Had they lost that game by a point or had it been a draw, he would’ve looked a bit foolish. That was hubris of the worst order. What if it fired up the opposition? The Carlton players had to actually sit down with Brett Ratten and tell him to stop barracking so much because it was putting them off.”

However fellow panellist Craig Hutchison disagreed, saying he thought Clarkson's behaviour was “great for the game” and “awesome to see". As Hutchison pointed out, Wilson has "whacked [Clarkson] here all year and now they’ve got two wins and you’re still going.”

Kane Cornes said he “prefers coaches in the coaches box,” but he “knows it’s each to their own", while Matthew Lloyd pointed out that Clarkson is trying to build more rapport with his players after previous coach David Noble reportedly fell out with them.

“They were hammered by David Noble as a coach to the point where I think they lost their confidence,” he said. “I think he’s (Clarkson) trying to do this the other way to try and pick his players back up again.”

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Wilson has been highly critical of Clarkson on a number of occasions this year, most notably after he allegedly told a female journalist "your time will come" over the treatment of his players. "He has behaved in such ridiculous fashion," Wilson said. "He's back where he was in those early bad years of Hawthorn where he was threatening the media.

"'Your time will come, you'll get yours', I reckon he said the same thing to Craig Hutchison one night on Footy Classified. Swearing once at Mark Robinson as he left a press conference. It doesn't matter who the journalist was but it happened to be a young female journo, 'Your time will come'. I mean seriously."

Alastair Clarkson, pictured here on the boundary-line during North Melbourne's win over Fremantle.
Alastair Clarkson on the boundary-line during North Melbourne's win over Fremantle. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

However a number of fans and commentators couldn't help but disagree with Wilson's latest sentiments about Clarkson's behaviour on the boundary-line. Leading journalist Jon Ralph tweeted: "I thought this was one of the highlights of the round. Clarko buying into the energy of his young side.

"Carrying on like a pork chop in the best possible way just like running shirtless around Manuka Oval. Imagine how boring footy would be without this kind of stuff…."

Former player Daniel Gorringe wrote sarcastically: "I tend to agree. Why is the coach showing emotion? Why is he smiling so much? Why is he trying to lift the spirit of his young side?

"Football is about being a robot and not showing emotion. If anything he should be emotionless. Not good enough."

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