Alastair Clarkson favours faster judgments by the tribunal, at least for incidents at Friday night games. Photo: Getty Images
Coaching stalwart Alastair Clarkson says the match review panel should deliver verdicts on contentious incidents in Friday night matches before the full round is completed, and hold tribunal hearings as early as Sunday night.
The Hawthorn coach's distaste at public comments surrounding Hawthorn defender Brian Lake's recent choke on North Melbourne's Drew Petrie, including initially by himself and some of his players, has also persuaded him the AFL should gag participant players and officials from commenting on incidents before they are heard by the tribunal.
Clarkson, whose 11-year tenure is the longest unbroken stint of any current AFL coach, said on Monday night he had been too critical of Lake in his press conference after the match, in regards to Petrie's scuffle with Lake that later triggered a four-match suspension.
He said once he had spoken to Lake and seen detailed footage of the incident he had moderated his criticism.
Clarkson offered no opinion on the four-match penalty, but made clear he thought subsequent media appearances by Petrie and Kangaroos coach Brad Scott, who spoke on Channel Seven on the night before the Lake hearing, were not appropriate.
"We've got a Tuesday-night hearing. 'Scotty' is speaking on Monday night, Drew is on the telly twice over the weekend [and] he's on radio on the weekend," Clarkson told On The Couch.
"What 'Lakey' did wasn't right, and he had to pay a price for that. But the way that it was trotted out across four days, I think as an industry we can do things a hell of a lot better than that."
Given the intense initial scrutiny in the Channel Seven match coverage, which spread over the four days until the tribunal hearing, Clarkson hoped the AFL would, in future, be "ringing both clubs and saying 'Listen, whoever is involved in this incident shouldn't be speaking to anyone involved in the press until the hearing is heard'."
While the match review panel does not begin its adjudication until Monday morning, Clarkson wanted that brought forward, at least for Friday night matches. That would seemingly require a verdict on Saturday, so clubs could prepare for a Sunday night hearing if they wished to challenge judgements.
"Friday night incidents, get them out of the road. if they need to be referred straight to the tribunal (my preference is to) get it to the tribunal as soon as you possibly can," Clarkson said. "That helps everyone . . . and I reckon it would be great for the game."