Clarko fumes at new cap rule

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 02 Maret 2013 | 14.43

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson new assistant coach Brett Ratten last night. Source: Getty Images

HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson has slammed the 80-interchange cap rule after the Hawks and Western Bulldogs last night struggled to adapt to the controversial restriction.

Clarkson and Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney were both left bewildered after becoming the guinea pigs for the rule in a game the Dogs won by one point at Etihad Stadium.

Clarkson said the AFL was taking an "enormous risk" by restricting rotations to 80.

"Take it back to old reserves and just play 18 men on the ground if that's what you want to do," Clarkson said.

"It's a pretty dramatic change to go to 80.

"Goodness knows, no one knows, what's going to happen to the game so hopefully common sense will prevail.

"If they want to introduce a cap hopefully they do it at a sensible rate like 120 and then we can see what a minor cap does to the game rather than take it to 80.

"I reckon it's an enormous risk to take with what's a pretty good game at the moment.

"Just at a hunch we're going to say, 'Oh let's put it at 80 and see what happens.

"I hope it's good, but what happens if it's no good?'

As it was neither side used its quota of interchanges, with the Bulldogs using 71 and the Hawks 72.

"You're not coaching, all you're doing is counting how many times players are coming off the ground," Clarkson said.

"You want to coach the players not count numbers.

"I could get a school kid to do that but the coaches have to do it. It's an enormous constraint in terms of the game."

McCartney, delighted his team had shown resilience to hold off a charging Hawthorn and win its first game of the year, said the rule was too extreme.

"I came to the game with a bit of me thinking there will be incredible fatigue and the game will be a shambles. We probably spent too much time ... you spend a stupid amount of time counting them," McCartney said.

"Experimenting with the game is a good thing as long as it's not too extreme and goes too far the other way."

Clarkson said the Hawks were "a bit rusty and a bit scratchy" in defeat, but said there was sufficient time to get his side up and running for Round 1.

"It's not about wins or losses, it's about game time ... but we were really poor around the footy tonight and we gave the Dogs too much easy supply from that area of the ground," he said.

Luke Hodge, Shaun Burgoyne, Grant Birchall, Liam Shiels, Michael Osborne, Xavier Ellis and new recruit Brian Lake all missed last night.

Clarkson said injuries to Luke Breust and David Hale were only minor, while promising Western Bulldogs draftee Jake Stringer has had scans on a rolled ankle that forced him off the ground.

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