Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson voices concern over toll of AFL coaching after Rhyce Shaw break

Oliver CaffreyThe West Australian
VideoAFL: Following the news Rhyce Shaw has taken extended leave from his role, four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson says he's concerned for AFL coaches.

Four-time Hawthorn premiership mentor Alastair Clarkson says he is worried about the toll that coaching is taking on AFL figures.

One of the most decorated coaches in league history, Clarkson’s comments come after North Melbourne last week confirmed Rhyce Shaw had taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Kangaroos.

Clarkson pointed out that it wasn’t just the North coach who had fallen on hard times.

As well as Shaw, he listed James Hird, Mark Thompson, Dean Bailey, Phil Walsh, Dean Laidley, Danny Frawley and Don Pyke as coaches who have “done it tough”.

“I’m a bit concerned for our profession, particularly the 17 peers in the roles that we’ve got,” Clarkson told AFL 360.

“Any coach that does it particularly tough, he has to carry that in his public life more so than what a coach would have to do in a much bigger market like America or Europe.

“That carries an enormous strain for many in our industry and I have got concerns given the high quality of all those lads I’ve mentioned.”

Clarkson said it was natural for coaches to be selfless.

Alastair Clarkson coach of the Hawks heads to the rooms at half time.
Camera IconAlastair Clarkson coach of the Hawks heads to the rooms at half time. Credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images

“I’m concerned and I think the game should be concerned, because it’s an enormous burden to carry,” he said.

“We need to be doing something, both as individual clubs and individual coaches too.

“I think we’ve always looked after everyone else in the club and put everyone else in the club before ourselves.

“It’s getting to a point where we’re seeing some real casualties out of our industry and I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says he has checked in with Shaw after news of his break from coaching became public.

“I only met Rhyce last year, but he’s just such a humble, good-natured, respectful guy,” Beveridge told AFL 360.

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