Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson confirms he will depart the Hawks at the end of the season

Staff writersThe West Australian
Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson looks on during the round 20 AFL match between Adelaide Crows and Hawthorn Hawks.
Camera IconHawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson looks on during the round 20 AFL match between Adelaide Crows and Hawthorn Hawks. Credit: Jonathan DiMaggio/AFL Photos/via AFL Photos

“The club needs to free itself from my shadow.”

Legendary Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has confirmed that he will step away from the club at the end of the year, prior to the Hawks’ original succession plan for Clarkson to guide incoming coach Sam Mitchell until the end of 2022.

Clarkson and Mitchell fronted cameras together this afternoon after news broke this morning that the four-time premiership winner wouldn’t see out the Hawks original transition period.

“The club needs to free itself from my shadow,” Clarkson said when delivering the news.

“I’m a firm believer that only one coach can steer a playing group.

“We all realised that it was best to get this bloke (Mitchell) into the coaching chair.”

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Mitchell credited his former coach for his current position at the Hawks, holding off tears as he spoke of his gratitude for Clarkson’s efforts throughout this period.

The 53-year-old said he would now “take a breath” before considering his professional future, saying he will likely take a break from coaching and consider options for 2023.

Suspicions were raised this morning when a scheduled weekly press conference was abandoned on amid reports surfacing he had made the decision not to continue with the club.

Club president Jeff Kennett fronted the media following the announcement and took full responsibility for any confusion created by the original succession plan.

More to come.

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