AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
27 April 1968 (age 54)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 68d
Last game: 29y 125d
Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 79 kg
North Melbourne; Melbourne
North Melbourne: 57, 23
North Melbourne (1996)
Matthew Clarkson (Son)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 9,865th player to appear, 1,574th most games played, 1,264th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 781st player to appear, 141st most games played, 109th most goals kickedMelbourne: 1,165th player to appear, 389th most games played, 267th most goals kicked
Alastair Clarkson played 134 games for North Melbourne and Melbourne between 1987 and 1997 before going on to become a triple-premiership coach with Hawthorn.
Clarkson was recruited from Kaniva, Victoria to the North Melbourne Football Club, where he made his VFL debut in 1987, kicking the winning goal after the siren in his first senior game for the Kangaroos. Clarkson was 19 and at the end of his first season with North Melbourne when the Kangaroos met Carlton in October, 1987 in the notorious Battle Of Britain an exhibition match at The Oval in London . Several players from both teams were suspended after a spiteful game, Clarkson's four-match penalty the heaviest for king hitting Ian Aitken, who was hit from behind. Aitken and had his jaw broken from the blow.
He played mainly as a half-forward and stood at 171 cm, before moving into the midfield. In 1995, he was made Captain of the reserves side, with chances of senior selection unlikely due to the presence of midfielders such as Wayne Schwass, Anthony Stevens and Anthony Rock. He played just 91 games with the Roos for 61 goals in his nine seasons there until '95.
With limited opportunity at the Roos, Clarkson was drafted by the Melbourne Football Club where he debuted in 1996. He was a solid player and averaged 23.5 disposals in his 22 games that year. He played a further 19 games in 1997, taking his tally with the Demons to 41 games, before retiring at the end of the season.
Clarkson moved into coaching, first with Werribee in the VFL, followed by roles at St Kilda and Central District where he was a Premiership coach in 2001. In 2003 he became the midfield coach at Port Adelaide and forward coach in 2004.
He was appointed his first senior AFL coaching role at the Hawthorn Football Club for the 2005 season, when the Hawks appointed Clarkson to lead their rebuilding phase. While his side could only manage five wins in his debut season, finishing 14th, 2006 saw the side improve, winning their last four games in a row and taking them to 11th spot on the ladder. The Hawks continued to improve in 2007, winning 13 games and finishing fifth on the Premiership table. This took them into the finals, where they eliminated Adelaide in the Elimination Final, before being eliminated themselves in the Semi Final against North Melbourne.
On 13 May 2008, the Hawthorn Football Club announced that Clarkson had signed a contract until the end of 2011. In 2008 Clarkson took the Hawks to second place on the ladder in the home and away season, behind Geelong, a team who lost only a single game during that period. After defeating the Western Bulldogs and then St Kilda to qualify for the Grand Final, he then coached the Hawks to what many believed was impossible: a Grand Final win over the dominant 2008 Geelong Cats. The 2008 Premiership is the pinnacle of his career, completing a meteoric rise in his tenure as coach at Hawthorn, and in doing so, Clarkson became the only coach to ever lead his sides to a Premiership in both the AFL/VFL and the SANFL, in the well over 100 years existence of both leagues.
In the September 2009 round 22 game against Essendon, Clarkson was fined $15,000 for confronting and threatening Matthew Lloyd after Lloyd had flattened Hawthorn's Brad Sewell and started a bench-clearing brawl 11 seconds into the third quarter, and abusing an interchange steward who attempted to intervene in the incident.
Clarkson took his Hawthorn charges to a Grand Final loss against Sydney in 2012, and premiership wins over Fremantle and the Swans in 2013-14.