Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew is anything but surprised that departing Hawthorn mentor Alastair Clarkson has been linked to the Suns job following the team’s shocking loss to Melbourne.
Dew, who won an AFL premiership in 2008 with the Hawks under Clarkson, said the Suns were desperate to finish their season on a high – starting on Saturday against Carlton at Marvel Stadium – after last weekend’s embarrassing loss to the Demons.
And while he is adamant he has the backing of Gold Coast players and officials to remain in charge beyond this season, Dew said it was expected that the suddenly available super coach Clarkson would be touted as a Suns saviour after a heavy defeat.
“It comes with the job, it comes with the territory and to be fair on the back of loss like that, it’s expected,” Dew said.
“But what we are really confident, internally, is we made a decision a couple of years ago or at least build on what that looks like.
“Internally, we think with our players, we’ve created a great environment. They’ve bought into the plan, they’re really confident where we’re going and that’s the most important thing – what’s our players and staff telling us, and how did they feel about the future as opposed to outside looking in.
“We understand that at different times that’s looked grim, but also there’s times when people have been really positive about us.
“We’re certainly glass half full with us, but that’s what our players are telling us and how they’re behaving and acting.
“They’re my ultimate feedback, to be honest.”
Alastair Clarkson will leave Hawthorn at the end of the season. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
Dew added that it was “premature” for Clarkson, 53, to be linked with another job after only just announcing he would be leaving Hawthorn at the of the season after a 17-year tenure that included four premierships.
“We need to acknowledge the contributions he’s made to the game and, in particular, Hawthorn Football Club, and I think we owe him that respect,” Dew said.
“He’s not making a decision on anything in the next small period, so I think it’s very premature, but we can understand why there’s that story, but now we’ve got a great relationship, him and I, so I think if, if there’s ever going to be breaking news I think we’ll probably tell each other around that area. I’m really confident of that.
“We should, for a minute, just take a breath. Otherwise, if this is how a legend of the game exits a footy club, then that’s a blight on the game, to be honest, if we’re going to jump straight into what’s he doing next.”
Port Adelaide assistant Michael Voss has also been linked with a move to the Suns next year to join Dew’s coaching staff.
“We’re talking to a number of coaches who have got a really good criteria, but we’re mindful also that people have got three more games to go and then other teams got finals, so it’s not going to be a snap decision,” Dew said.
“We’ll take our time, and as coaches will around the league, they’ll be taking their time as to what’s next.”
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