Clarkson & Hardwick Set Friendship Aside
They are two of the AFL's great mates, and also two of its fiercest competitors.
So even though he was on the family basketball run this week, Alastair Clarkson knew better than to enter the Hardwick home.
Thursday night's qualifying final is not only the first Hawthorn-Richmond final, but also the first time that Clarkson will coach against Damien Hardwick in a final.
It is well-known that when the Hawks play the Tigers, their great friendship usually goes cold for a few days.
Earlier this week, Clarkson drove Hardwick's daughter Imogen to basketball.
"I didn't go in to shake his hand and wish him all the best and then when I dropped her off, I didn't take her to the door either," Clarkson said.
"Imy just jumped out."
Poor Imogen must have felt like she was caught in no man's land, as her father noted.
"It's a bit frosty in the Hardwick-Clarkson relationship one week before, one week after," Hardwick said.
"Our families are the best of mates.
"It's a tough challenge. It's business, we accept that, but it's all quiet on the western front at the moment."
Hardwick also confirmed his wife Danielle and Clarkson's wife Caryn would not watch the game together.
Clarkson was a guest in the Richmond rooms after they won last year's premiership and famously crashed Hardwick's post-game media conference, keen to hurry him up so they could celebrate.