Alastair Clarkson may be yet to officially start at North Melbourne, but the club says the four-time premiership club is “pretty happy” with how the list is shaping up for 2023.
Clarkson, who is currently overseas in Scotland to work with Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, was due to start his role as head coach on November 1, but that now remains unclear given the investigation into historic racism allegations from his time at Hawthorn.
New Kangaroos general manager Todd Viney revealed he’s been in constant contact with Clarkson, after he lured him back to footy.
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“Originally I thought I’d have 12 months out of football … 12 months turned into three years before Alastair came knocking on the door for a visit to ask whether I was ready to get back into the AFL system and help him out,” Viney told NMFC.com.au.
“The more Alastair got excited about getting back into the environment, the more excited I got.
“Clarko’s had a lot on his plate (recently) and it’s been a terrible time for him and his family.
“I’ve kept in regular contact with him to discuss how we were going with the list and the trade period. He was aware of what was going on through my contacts with him over the phone.
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“It was really Brady (Rawlings), Scott Clayton and his team and myself driving that period of time. He’s pretty happy with where we are at.”
Clarkson remains committed to defending himself “at the earliest opportunity” in relation to those historic allegations. There’s reports both Clarkson and Lions coach Chris Fagan will return to the senior coaching ranks within the next fortnight.
Viney believes having a coach like Clarkson is the first step towards making North Melbourne a “destination club”, after recruiting the likes of Dockers duo Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker last trade period.
“Alastair’s obviously a very good coach … that development can happen quicker than you think,” he said.
“It’s certainly something we’re striving to become (a destination club).
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“It’s probably some hard yards for Brady and his team to attract players when we’re sitting in the position on the ladder we are at. We’ve had some fluctuations with coaches that have changed the last couple of years. His job has been difficult but the best thing we can do is create a really strong football department and club; we think we’ve got some really special things to happen at the North Melbourne footy club.
“We need to continue to build on those values instilled in this place for a long time.
“We’ve got an elite coach that will be coming in and starting and put a great footy program and game plan. I think once we start to then get performances, people will see the wheels turning and then get excited about the future of the North Melbourne footy club.
“We are really confident that’s going to happen.
“Bit by bit, people will see the wheel will turn and well hopefully get some players and staff in the industry knocking at our door inquiring how can they be part of what we’re doing.”
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One of those players North Melbourne hope will come knocking is Saint Hunter Clark.
Clark had been interested in joining the Roos earlier this month, but a year to run on his deal at St Kilda, the trade never eventuated.
Rawlings said the club would be keen to have another chat to Clark in 12 months time, given his contract situation would have changed.
“I think there was some disappointment there – (Clark) obviously flagged his intention on wanting to join us throughout that period,” he said to club media.
“He’s got a really good position at St Kilda still and he’s got some close relationships there obviously. It’s not one of those ones where it’s hard to go back.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine there this year. But he’s a player we’ll keep in contact with.
“He’ll be out of contract at this time next year. We’ll continue our interest there and follow him really closely.”