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If there is any doubt Hawthorn have returned to ground zero, consider this. In Alastair Clarkson’s two opening seasons with the Hawks in 2005-06, they had a combined 14 wins, five coming in his rookie season.
Alastair Clarkson: is he up for another rebuild at Hawthorn?Credit:Getty Images
Bookend that with five wins last year in a truncated campaign and perhaps six or seven based on form this season, and it could be argued the Hawks are in a worse spot than way back then, with close observers fearing that this playing list has yet to bottom out.
Heading into Clarkson’s maiden season the club had just drafted Jarryd Roughead, Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis. And we all know how well they progressed.
Supporters were told in pre-season briefings this year that the Hawks would invest heavily in the national draft this year and almost certainly next, a plan president Jeff Kennett reinforced this week when declaring the club’s board, executive and coaches were united in the belief that from 2023 they would be in “for another decade of very good, competitive football”.
However, Clarkson on Friday somewhat moved to temper expectations, declaring the Hawks “planned for our very best knowing that there are lots of struggles and hiccups along the way”.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson still has the passion.Credit:Getty Images
“If he can rebuild that club and get it contending again, in a third rebuild … it would be a remarkable job, but it is probably a three-to-five year plan.”
If a firm deal from a rival club is not in the immediate offing, Clarkson’s only bet may be with the Hawks. But it could make for a tricky 2022. If he wants to stay and the Hawks are unsure on life beyond 2022, the club faces an even greater call.
As the intrigue grows, Clarkson, on a cold, windswept Friday morning, preparing for a somewhat humbling 17th versus 18th clash against the winless Kangaroos in Launceston, insisted he would not be distracted by the speculation.
“I have been in this caper for 17 years and this sort of speculation and innuendo is a consistent theme with anyone in the game … you just ride the bumps,” he said.
“We know what we are doing as a footy club. We have been through this at the start of 2010. We were one win and six losses, then we were playing in a prelim the next year.”
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