Alastair Clarkson wants clarity on runners. Picture: AAP Images
Alastair Clarkson wants clarity on runners. Picture: AAP Images

Frustrated coaches want runner rule answers

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson insists the runner rule is yet to be finalised, despite the AFL categorically stating it wouldn't budge on the new restrictions.

Less than a week after footy boss Steve Hocking said changes "won't happen, and for good reason", Clarkson claimed he and the coaches had no idea what access runners would have this season.

"As we sit right here now we still don't know exactly what's going on with the runner rule and what the interpretation is going to be there. That's got its frustrations," Clarkson told SEN.

"What we do need is clarity on what it's going to look like."

Clarkson and former Hawthorn assistants Luke Beveridge and Chris Fagan have been among the most ardent critics after the leash was put on runners.

Clarkson said three options were still alive only three days out from the Richmond-Carlton season-opener at the MCG.

He said the AFL could put a cap on runner use per quarter, extend the 45 second time limit after goals or stay with the rules put in place for the JLT series.

Alastair Clarkson wants greater access to runners. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Alastair Clarkson wants greater access to runners. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"We're waiting to get clarity and I dare say it would need to happen today," Clarkson said.

"We've got three days. We discussed it four days ago and I'd expect something would have been pushed through to the clubs by now."

Hocking last week said: "There was always going to be the odd clunkiness around certain rules, but the important call-out for me was all these changes … work together.

"We're not going to move away from that. Coaches are a bit scared, a bit nude (exposed) from where they've been."

Clarkson said last Wednesday's breakfast meeting between the coaches, Hocking and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan saw a "strong stance" taken by the coaches.

"The season is upon us and we're still discussing whether or not there's merit in making some of the changes," he said.

"What the coaches were keen on was having the same philosophy around the bench rotations. If we're going to make a change does it need to be so dramatic?

"I think it should be the same with the runners. Do the changes in the game need to be so dramatic in the first instance?"

Clarkson said he also wasn't sure how the 50m rule was going to work, with uncertainty over what umpire will take charge,

"I'm led to believe that's going to change and the officiating umpire won't have to set the mark. I'm yet to have that confirmed either," he said.