New North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has been given a whack by prominent journalist Caroline Wilson for his antics during a thrilling round two victory.
The former Hawthorn mastermind chose to be on the sideline, rather than in the coaches box, as his Kangaroos executed a one-point win over Fremantle in Perth.
While it’s not unusual for a head coach to occasionally opt to leave the box and stand with his players on the bench, it was the actions of Clarkson while there that rankled Wilson.
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Clarkson, 54, celebrated wildly when his team kicked a goal, before the Dockers mounted a comeback which was almost completed.
“We’ve talked about what a great effort it has been by Alastair Clarkson, but he almost came a cropper on Saturday night with this behaviour,” Wilson told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“I think this was when they kicked a goal to go 21 points up – high-fiving with everyone, and then there’s the arms wide at an umpire’s decision, the mock exasperation.
“Had they lost that game by a point or had it been a draw, he would have looked a bit foolish.
“That was hubris of the worst order.
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“You think the Freo players didn’t see that? What if you fired up the opposition?
“The Carlton players actually had to sit down with Brett Ratten and tell him to calm down because he was putting them off.”
Fellow panellist Matthew Lloyd, though, was having none of Wilson’s argument.
The Essendon legend pointed out former Kangaroos coach David Noble was sacked for getting the playing group off-side by being too hard on his troops.
“That’s just supporting your players,” Lloyd said.
“They were hammered by David Noble as a coach, to the point where they lost their confidence.
“I think (Clarkson is) doing this (to the extreme) the other way to pick his players back up again.”
Clarkson, despite any criticism, has led North Melbourne to a 2-0 start under his tenure and the Kangaroos have already won as many games this season as they did last.
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The players, too, don’t seem to mind their coach being on the sideline.
Veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein explained the reasoning behind the move.
“I think the ability just for him to be able to get the message to the players,” Goldstein told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.
“He’s very vocal, every time I was off he would always be coming over and checking in, giving you bits of information to pass onto the group.
“I think it gets rid of the messenger to a point.”
North Melbourne next takes on Clarkson’s former club, Hawthorn, on Saturday afternoon.
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