Alastair Clarkson joked that he was interested in snapping up a vacant assistant coaching role with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, but he was coy when the topic inevitably turned to the possibility of him taking over the GWS Giants.
Leon Cameron resigned as coach of the Giants on Thursday and, like clockwork, Clarkson was immediately tossed up as a potential successor.
But the legendary AFL coach gave little away when asked for his thoughts on Fox Sports’ AFL 360.
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“I’m keen to explore whatever my options are, and that could be inside of footy, it could be outside, and it could be on field and it could be off field,” Clarkson said.
“To be honest, there’s 18 and hopefully pretty soon 19 clubs in the competition that I wouldn’t hesitate to coach.”
Clarkson, most famous for guiding Hawthorn to four AFL flags, has spent time with Golden State during his time away from the game, which began at the end of last season when he was forced out by the Hawks to give Sam Mitchell a shot at coaching the club.
Clarkson is close friends with Warriors coach Steve Kerr and, after Mike Brown scored the top gig at the Sacramento Kings, an assistant coaching position is open at Golden State.
“I mentioned before the show that Mike Brown’s just taken the Sacramento Kings job and he’s left an opening of assistant coach at the Golden State Warriors,” Clarkson laughed.
“I’m open to just being able to sneak in there with Steve Kerr and just do a bit of work in the playoffs in the last part.”
Leon Cameron resigns from top job
In addition to the professional development Clarkson has undertaken at Golden State since leaving Hawthorn, he’s been an integral figure in Tasmania’s push for an AFL license.
And while the 54-year-old said he’d enjoyed his taste of administration, he admitted that working with some of the NBA’s elite had reminded him of his attraction to top-level coaching.
“I’ve been able to get my teeth into the work I’ve had to do for the Tassie government and the Tassie taskforce, and I’ve really enjoyed that front-office type of role,” Clarkson said.
“But two weeks ago I was right in the heart of the Golden State Warriors and they played in a playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. The strategy they (had as they) went about trying to win that series (and) the first playoff game back at Golden State for three years and the buzz in the stadium… it was just like, ‘god, I want to be back part of the cut and thrust, the cutting edge and coalface’.”
Clarkson stressed that if he returned to coaching in the AFL he’d only do it for one reason.
“It’ll pretty much come down to one thing for me. I’d want to get back involved because I’d want to win it,” Clarkson said.
“And if I didn’t feel like I was the bloke that could take that club or group of players to win it, then I’ll just stay out of the game.
“I’ve got other things I can do and other passions that I want to chase.
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“First and foremost, whether that’s a one- or two-year timeframe or a five- or six-year timeframe, it’s just like, ‘I’m only coming back into it for one reason and that’s because I feel this group can win it’.”
Cameron led the Giants in 192 matches after taking over from inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy ahead of the 2014 season.
Cameron steered GWS to five finals series in six years, during which the club played in two preliminary finals and the 2019 grand final.
The Giants won at least one final in each of the seasons they qualified under Cameron.
The 49-year-old will coach GWS for the final time on Sunday, before Mark McVeigh serves as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
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