Guest Speakers


Alastair Clarkson


Alastair Clarkson is an Australian rules football coach and former player. He has been the head coach of the Hawthorn Football Club since 2005, and is the longest-serving coach in the league.

Clarkson played eleven seasons of AFL football – nine for North Melbourne (1987–1995) followed by two for Melbourne (1996–1997). He played 134 games in total, playing either in the midfield or on the half-forward flanks.

After retiring from playing, Clarkson served for periods as an assistant coach at St Kilda (1999), head coach of VFL club Werribee (2000), head coach of SANFL club Central District (2001–2002), and assistant coach at Port Adelaide (2003–2004).

Clarkson was appointed head coach of Hawthorn at the end of the 2004 season, in which the club had placed second-last. Hawthorn returned to the finals in 2007, Clarkson’s third season in charge, and the following year defeated Geelong in the grand final to claim their first premiership since 1991. From 2012 to 2015, Clarkson cemented his place in club history by coaching Hawthorn to four consecutive grand finals. The Hawks emerged victorious in 2013, 2014, and 2015, becoming only the sixth team in league history to win three consecutive premierships. Clarkson is one of the few men to have coached four premiership teams and is widely considered among the most innovative and successful coaches in AFL history.

Damien Hardwick


Started his AFL career with the Essendon Football Club in 1994, as a tough, solid defender. He was a crucial part of Essendon’s 2000 premiership side before he was traded to Port Adelaide Football Club and played with the side until his retirement in 2004 after winning the premiership in that year.

In 2005, he began working as an assistant coach under Alastair Clarkson at Hawthorn before being appointed to his first senior coaching role at Richmond in 2009. He is still at Richmond today having coached coached Richmond to their first premiership since 1980 and their 11th overall with a 48 point victory over the Adelaide Crows in 2017.