Todd Viney has offered an insight into how Alastair Clarkson convinced him to come out of AFL retirement and join him at North Melbourne in a bid for another premiership.
North Melbourne on Thursday confirmed Viney would become the club’s new football boss, marking a return to clubland for the first time since 2019, when he left Melbourne.
Viney and Clarkson worked together at Hawthorn between 2005 and 2009, with Clarkson approaching the Melbourne great recently under the guise of a simple farm visit.
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“He sort of came in by stealth,” Viney told foxfooty.com.au as part of a campaign with son Jack for Pepperjack, which is promoting its Shiraz as the perfect gift for every dad this Father’s Day.
“He said he wanted to come up to the farm and talk a bit of farming because he’s got a property as well.
“As the day unfolded the conversation came around to footy and whether I’d be interested in coming on board with him as a new challenge. I said I’d need a little bit of time to think about it, but he can be quite persuasive.”
Clarkson won four premierships with Hawthorn during his tenure before his exit at the end of last season.
While the widely-lauded coach has spent a year out of the game, he has filled his time with globetrotting sporting expeditions in a bid to improve.
“He was full of energy,” Viney recalled.
“At times he’s like an ever-ready battery, he just doesn’t stop, doesn’t know how to.
“Even in his time off he was travelling the world and looking at elite sporting organisations. He’s a real innovator, he’s come back with plenty of ideas. He’s ready to go.”
As to why Clarkson wanted to come back to senior coaching? The answer was simple.
“When I asked him why he wanted to get back in, he said ‘to win it’. He’s really competitive and so am I.”
As Todd prepares for another foray into the AFL landscape, Jack Viney suggested there wouldn’t be too much of a teething process for his father.
“To be honest, I’m surprised he lasted so long out of footy,” he said.
“I was probably waiting for the call to come at some stage.”
Todd commences in a part-time capacity from Monday before ultimately transitioning into a full-time role from November onwards.
What comes first for Viney when he walks into Arden Street?
“I’ll get to meet everyone for a start. Get to meet all the staff firstly,” he said.
“Most of the players have taken off but no doubt there’ll be a few floating around. Just trying to make myself familiar with the people, the coaches, the players, get a good understanding of where everything is at the moment and then start to build a plan on how we move forward with Clarko.”
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