AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said the ball’s holding should be corrected after harsh criticism from Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on modern play.
The quadruple Premiership coach has launched an extraordinary attack on how the AFL is played in 2020 after the Hawks’ four-point victory over North Melbourne.
Clarkson has argued for changes to fix the game, which he says is in “appalling space” after his team was involved in a “terrible show” at Marvel Stadium on Sunday evening.
AFL’s longest-serving active coach believes referees need AFL direction to reward a good tackle.
McLachlan said he would speak to AFL boss of football operations Steve Hocking this week about a number of things related to the increasingly complex 2020 season affected by COVID-19.
“I didn’t speak to ‘Clarko’. I don’t agree with Clarko about the state of the game; there were crack games on the weekends and an average – it’s sport” McLachlan told reporters Monday.
“I agree with him to a certain extent on the holding of the ball.
“You need an opportunity beforehand. You can’t let guys take the ball and have none.
“Our players these days are so skillful and quick that they can take the ball and evaluate the option so quickly and if they don’t like it, they will take the tackle.
“Well, they got the prior and they should be crazy. I think we have to be tougher to hold the ball.”
Clarkson was unable to explain how his team made 69 tackles against the Roos, but did not receive a single tackle-specific free kick.
“What happened to our game? You can’t have that many tackles and none can be eliminated incorrectly,” said the Hawks coach.
Geelong coach Chris Scott was another high-profile figure wondering what the modern game looked like after the Cats beat Melbourne in a low-score scrap on Sunday.
“I don’t think anyone watching the game thinks that two teams will just dominate the competition,” he said.