According to Eddie McGuire, Alastair Clarkson and his management met with North Melbourne president Sonja Hood, with the club moving “all in” on the master coach.
Clarkson began the interview process as he tries to find his next home in AFL, with the four-time Premiership winner also meeting the GWS Giants, who are currently without a coach for next season.
The 54-year-old’s manager, James Henderson, told McGuire the meeting with North went “very well”, calling it a “worthwhile experience”, with the two sides meeting again in the next two weeks.
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“North Melbourne has staked everything on Alastair Clarkson, there is currently no plan B,” McGuire told Nine’s. Footy classified.
“If it doesn’t work out, they come up with a plan B, but they’ve shown they want it.
“My understanding is that Alastair Clarkson is now thinking more about the coach next year than not. His management said, ‘You know you don’t have to coach next year,’ and I think he thought, ‘You know what? I ‘I’m a coach, so I’m going to coach’.
“The north is now a real opportunity to land this guy, but he wants to bring his team and he has put his team together. Part of his thinking could very well be whether everyone wants to move to GWS or we can do it in North Melbourne. .
“There is no doubt that the list at GWS attracts Alastair Clarkson, but the romance and perhaps the practicality mean he could very well be the manager of North Melbourne.”
Clarkson is one of four coaches interviewed by the Giants, a list that includes current interim manager Mark McVeigh as well as Melbourne assistant principal Adem Yze and Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley, according to Matthew Lloyd.
While the Kangaroos are still unsure of landing the biggest fish available on the coaching market, former AFL manager Ross Lyon praised the club’s “unique focus”.
“They really need to move all in. That’s a really good sign,” he said Footy classified.
“If he can get his key people involved he is probably a high performance manager, a football analyst, a football manager, those real pillars of success that surround him. He knows what needs to be done (and) he knows who to bring.
“It’s a super plan. I think he has time there. Nobody expected them to do the eight. They have greenshoots, a young midfield, but the dynamic didn’t work there (with David Noble), so they had the change.
“It will have time and it will build a fantastic environment.”
Port Adelaide is also a club that has been linked to Clarkson, having dropped out of the top eight this year, but McGuire believes the club is reluctant to part ways with current senior manager Ken Hinkley, who has a year to run with his contract after this season.
“They think he’s the man, if you have a good coach stay with him at least for next year,” he said.
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“It would take something pretty incredible (for Hinkley’s departure). Maybe Ken comes to the end of the year and says, ‘You know what? I have nothing more to give.’
“I think it’s more that he should go than Port to fire him, unless they get flogged in the last three weeks.”
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