Clarkson meets Giants for third time, will meet Kangaroos

Alastair Clarkson met Giants’ CEO Dave Matthews and football director Jimmy Bartel in Melbourne on Wednesday and the Kangaroos will meet Clarkson too as the chase for the four-time premiership coach heats up.

The Giants have now met Clarkson three times as they look to replace long-serving coach Leon Cameron, who parted ways with the club after round nine. They have also been sounding out other potential candidates to assess their interest in pursuing the position.

Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.Credit:AFL Photos

Matthews spoke to Nine after the meeting.

“Obviously we’ve got a vacancy and we’re going through a process and clearly with Alastair’s background, you have to catch up with him,” Matthews said.

“It was a really good conversation. His track record speaks for itself and obviously with such a profile in the game, that certainly adds some appeal. But you do want to appoint the right coach, which is why we are going through a process,” Matthews said.

Clarkson’s presence in the market has accelerated the plans of two clubs with coaching vacancies, as North Melbourne confirmed club president Sonja Hood met briefly with Clarkson’s manager, James Henderson, at the Kangaroos’ match in Hobart on Saturday.

The Kangaroos’ hierarchy will also meet Clarkson to discuss North Melbourne’s criteria for the role and the direction of the club as he weighs up a range of considerations before determining what he does in 2023.

Clarkson played 93 matches in nine seasons at North Melbourne between 1987-95 and 41 games in two years from 1996-97 at Melbourne before pursuing a coaching career in which he landed four flags at the Hawks from 2005-21.

He is interested in coaching again after spending a year out of the game investing in his development with overseas trips to the USA and UK. However, he also has other projects on the go if the right opportunity does not present in 2023.

Clarkson has been a key person behind the bid for a licence for a standalone team in Tasmania and remains, despite his 12-month sabbatical, the biggest coaching name in the game.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, an ardent North Melbourne supporter, would love to see Alastair Clarkson coaching the club.Credit:Ken Irwin

Former Australian test cricket captain Ricky Ponting – who shares the same manager as Clarkson – said on a podcast this week he believed the 54-year-old was the right man for the Kangaroos.

Ponting, a North Melbourne supporter, said it would be smart for the club to pursue Clarkson heavily given they found themselves anchored at the bottom of the ladder.

“[He’s] the best coach in the AFL for the last 10 or 12 years, there’s a lot worse decisions you could make than to go flat out to try and bring someone like him back to where it all began,” Ponting was reported to have said on The Believers: Tasmania’s AFL Journey podcast.

Club great Wayne Carey also threw his support behind all-out pursuit of Clarkson.

“They need really strong leadership … and someone to stand up and make strong decisions and make the right decisions for the football club,” the dual Kangaroos premiership captain told Triple M on Wednesday.

“Alastair Clarkson is obviously the right man for the job; he gives the club automatic credibility.

“They need relevance and we need someone who can be the front person for that footy club.

“Sonja’s new in the job [as club president], and I think she’s doing a terrific job, starting to speak more and be a little bit more outspoken, which is great.

“If they can land ‘Clarko’, I think it appeases a lot of people.”

North Melbourne’s board met last Wednesday where they heard feedback from respected administrator Geoff Walsh who has been hired to conduct a review of the club’s football department.

with Roy Ward, AAP

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