AFL boss hits back at Alastair Clarkson’s ‘integrity’ claims
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has hit back at Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson after he questioned the league’s controversial bye after the final round.
Clarkson said it was now a disadvantage to finish top-four, arguing it threatened the integrity of the sport.
He said if a club won the premiership from outside the top-four again this season, like the Western Bulldogs in 2016, then coaches would be aiming for a spot on the ladder from five to eight in 2018.
But the league’s chief executive rejected the idea there was still no advantage in earning the double chance.
“I’ve put it to the coaches,” McLachlan said on 3AW Mornings.
“Is there still an advantage in finishing top-two over top-four? They say yes.
“Is there still an advantage in finishing top-four over five to eight? Yes.
“After that, it’s a moot question.
“Now, whether the gap between top-four and five to eight has narrowed, well, that’s a good debate.
“I actually think before the bye, statistically, nobody really ever came from outside the top four – we were almost running a default top-four.
“So if you can now win from five to eight – I’m OK with that – as long as the higher you go up the ladder, the more advantage you get.”
By JAKE BOURKE