North president contacts Clarkson’s manager to start coach hunt

North Melbourne president Sonja Hood has contacted Alastair Clarkson’s manager James Henderson as the Kangaroos hunt for David Noble’s coaching replacement.

Four-time premiership coach Clarkson is overseas but will return next week as competition heats up among AFL clubs keen for him to lead them in 2023, with the Giants already speaking to coaching candidates including Clarkson.

AFL clubs are intensifying the chase for Alastair Clarkson.Credit:AFL Photos

North Melbourne have spent this week developing criteria for their next coach to fulfil and discussing their potential selection process, which may depend on initial discussions with possible candidates such as Clarkson or Ross Lyon.

The board will meet on Wednesday when it is expected to confirm the process. Internal and external people will have input into the eventual decision, with Hood confirming on Saturday that she had contacted Clarkson’s manager.

Hood told 3AW the next coach would be “afforded time and patience” to lift the team from the bottom of the ladder, with the president modifying the glowing assessment of the club’s list she gave on Tuesday.

Experienced football administrator Geoff Walsh is reviewing the football department but Hood said it was likely that more experience in football matters was needed within the club, and she wanted to make considered decisions.

North Melbourne president Sonja Hood has contacted Alastair Clarkson’s manager.Credit:Getty Images

“We need to make the right appointments in the right time but don’t compound the quick decisions by making more quick decisions and ending up in an even bigger mess than we have been,” Hood said.

During the week, Hood backed club chief executive Ben Amarfio, who has been asking questions about the football program as the performance this season went into freefall.

Amarfio has confirmed the club would apply for draft assistance from the AFL, which the league will consider after the season. The club is confident they will gain more traction in re-signing out-of-contract players they want to play with North Melbourne in 2023.

Having won just one match this season, the Roos will get the No.1 pick again, having secured Jason Horne-Francis with the top pick in the 2021 national draft. Their next pick is in the 50s, having traded away future picks last season, and they are looking to add mature players during the trade period.

Hawthorn premiership captain Luke Hodge said during the week North Melbourne needed to be careful if they appointed Clarkson, and they could not let it turn into the “Clarko Show”, needing a solid board to ensure the coach stuck to his role rather than trying to control everything.

AFL legend Leigh Matthews said North Melbourne might be so lacking in football experience they should consider giving Clarkson more control than a coach would normally get.

“Maybe they need to give carte blanche to someone who has got some credibility and a proven track record in the football world,” Matthews said.

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