Malthouse slams Hawks over Clarkson exit

AFL coaching great Mick Malthouse has weighed in on Hawthorn dumping legendary coach Alastair Clarkson, slamming Hawks president Jeff Kennett.

Hawks president JEFF KENNETT
Hawks president JEFF KENNETT Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Mick Malthouse has slammed Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett over his handling of Alastair Clarkson's exit and questioned whether Sam Mitchell will become a successful AFL coach.

The VFL/AFL record-holder for games coached, Malthouse has drawn similarities with his situation at Collingwood a decade ago and what Clarkson is currently experiencing.

Less than a month after Hawthorn announced their coaching handover from Clarkson to Mitchell at the end of the 2022 season, the Hawks on Friday confirmed those plans were being brought forward by a year.

The Magpies' coaching succession plan from Malthouse to Nathan Buckley became a cautionary tale after their relationship deteriorated.

Three-time premiership coach Malthouse called Kennett's decision-making "predictable".

"It's only a shock because of what Clarkson said last week," Malthouse told ABC Radio.

"Jeff Kennett clearly thinks he walks on water and it would work for him so it hasn't and was never going to.

"I have no doubt in my mind that Alastair Clarkson would have felt totally undermined by the Hawthorn football club - how it happened (and) how quickly it happened."

Malthouse admitted he was confused by Hawthorn replacing a four-time premiership coach with Mitchell, who has been an assistant coach at West Coast and the Hawks since retiring from playing in 2017.

Mitchell has been coaching VFL team Box Hill this year but will step up in place of Clarkson ahead of next season.

"History has shown that there's been some great players who have been great coaches, there's been some great players who have been good coaches and there's been some that have been disasters," Malthouse said.

"I am still at a loss that a committee would sit back and think that Sam Mitchell is going to be the replacement for Alastair Clarkson, who has the runs on the board.

"Let him coach someone and then get him back in a few years, but there is no evidence that Sam Mitchell is going to be a great coach."