Clarkson alumni face off for AFL flag

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson looms large over the AFL grand final despite his team not being there.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson looms large over the AFL grand final despite his team not being there.

The Alastair Clarkson alumni is guaranteed another AFL premiership.

For the fourth-straight year, a former Hawthorn assistant coach who worked under Clarkson will lead his team to the flag.

Clarkson's profound influence has gone to another level, given this is the first time that two of his former assistants will coach the grand final teams.

His good mate Damien Hardwick is aiming for two premierships in three years at Richmond and Leon Cameron has led GWS into their first grand final.

The last time Clarkson or one of his ex-assistants didn't coach the premiership team was 2012, when Sydney beat the Hawks in an epic grand final.

Clarkson then masterminded the Hawks' 2013-15 three-peat and the graduates from their football department have ruled the roost since.

Luke Beveridge coached the Western Bulldogs to their drought-breaking 2016 premiership, followed by Hardwick at Richmond the following year.

Clarkson memorably gatecrashed Hardwick's post-game media conference, wondering when he was going to finish up so they could enjoy a beer.

Last year, the Clarkson crew triumphed again when Adam Simpson coached West Coast to the flag.

There are five former members of the Hawks football department in charge of AFL teams, with former football boss Chris Fagan certain to be named coach of the year after taking Brisbane from 15th to second in the regular season.

The Lions then went out of the finals in straight sets.

Brendon Bolton has been the only unsuccessful Clarkson alumni, sacked earlier this year at Carlton.

He has returned to Hawthorn in a director of coaching role.

Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew played in Hawthorn's 2008 premiership team, but he cut his teeth at Sydney before taking on the Suns job.

Australian Associated Press