AFL premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has signed a contract extension to the end of the 2016 season, saying there’s still plenty to achieve at Hawthorn.
The Hawks were widely expected to re-sign Clarkson after his 2013 premiership success, moving before their round one clash with Brisbane to secure his signature for an additional two seasons.
Announcing the move on Monday, Clarkson said central among his future goals is keeping Hawthorn near the top of the ladder – beating the AFL’s natural inclination to rotate success around the clubs.
“We’ve got an exciting group but what the game has shown with the draft and the salary cap over the years is that they like to have clubs have their moment in the sun and then perhaps drop away to give another club an opportunity,” Clarkson said.
“Our big challenge having just won the flag is giving ourselves the chance to win it again.”
For Clarkson, that may not mean the dominance of the 2013 season, when they became the first team in four years to win both the minor premiership and the flag.
“We just want to try and finish top four and then at the end of each year, give ourselves the best chance to go deep into September,” he said.
By the end of Clarkson’s contracted tenure, he will be one season away from breaking legendary Hawk John Kennedy’s record for most games as Hawthorn coach.
Hawthorn chief executive Stuart Fox said last month that the key to Clarkson’s longevity at the club was his continued tactical astuteness.
The 2013 premiers will unfurl their premiership flag in Launceston on Saturday when they play Brisbane in their round one clash.