Alastair Clarkson pulls out of origin to coach Hawks


The Victorian coaching panel remains well-stocked, with Collingwood’s Robert Harvey, Gold Coast’s Dean Solomon and Richmond’s Adam Kingsley serving beneath Hardwick.

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The composite All-Stars side will be coached by John Longmire and assisted by Gold Coast’s Stuart Dew, Port Adelaide’s Michael Voss, Greater Western Sydney’s Mark McVeigh, the Western Bulldogs’ Joel Corey and Sydney’s Dean Cox.

Clarkson spoke passionately about the re-build in bushfire-affected areas when questioned following the Moorabbin defeat to the Saints.

The coaching great and several Hawthorn players travelled last month to bushfire-affected areas in northern and eastern Victoria but Clarkson said he was determined to return to keep helping the towns that had been heavily hit.

“This isn’t something that’s going to be an overnight thing. We’ll be back up there again in the next couple of weeks to provide some more assistance and it’s going to be ongoing for six months, 12 months, it might even be two years before we genuinely see the full recovery take place,” Clarkson said.

“Within two weeks of us being there, the rain comes and outside you’ve seen burnt leaves and blackened trunks on trees and then the paddocks are green.

“It’s a funny thing, life’s cycle. It gets back going again. And we’ve got to get the people back going again now, too.

“That’s an obligation that we want to give – especially to those two communities.

“That area in mid-Gippsland and west Gippsland was our zone and where we recruited our players for a long, long time prior to the national competition and the draft.

“[Hawthorn premiership player] Xavier Ellis came from Lakes Entrance and it was when his father Geoff and the organisation that he worked for, an abalone company in Mallacoota, got burned to the ground, it was like ‘how can we come down and help?’”

Meanwhile West Coast star Andrew Gaff has replaced North Melbourne midfielder Ben Cunnington in the Victorian squad. The North tough nut is out with soreness.

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