Clarko looking ahead

February 28, 2023 6:12 pm in by


Alastair Clarkson has defended his fiery temper, saying he cannot guarantee it will not flare up again.

While the North Melbourne coach apologised in person for his clash with a female journalist on February 1, he has defended his role in the incident.

It was the latest of several run-ins that Clarkson has had during his AFL career, which featured four premierships as Hawthorn coach.

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“You’d think, with the experience … I’ve continually learned my lessons,” he told the Seven Network.

“But this has been with me ever since I was a kid – if I see something unjust or untoward, I will defend – and I saw something that was unjust and untoward.

“I felt like I needed to defend our players and staff and I can’t give a guarantee I won’t do that again in the future.”

But Clarkson admitted this latest incident had given him pause for thought.

“It was a wake-up call for me, because it was confrontational,” he said.

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“I spoke to a female journalist in a manner that I didn’t think was condescending in any way whatsoever, really, except that I thought her behaviour was untoward – and she took offence to that.

“I apologised in the next couple of hours to her.”

Clarkson also dismissed commentary that it’s a problem for himself and the Kangaroos.

“I haven’t really lost control … because I was doing what I thought was in the best interests of the club,” he said.

Also on Monday, North football manager and long-time Clarkson confident Todd Viney said he had spoken to the coach about his temper.

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“Part of my role as GM of footy is to control that, make sure he’s not a ‘bulldozer’, in his words,” Viney said.

Clarkson defended player Tarryn Thomas, who is back at the club after a few weeks away as he deals with his off-field behaviour towards women.

“You come in at 17-18 years of age and somewhere along the way, just the wheels fall off for a period of time,” Clarkson said.

“To be fair, everyone has issues in their life.”

Clarkson, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and former colleague Jason Burt are also the subjects of an ongoing racism investigation, stemming from their time at Hawthorn.

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“It’s tough when you have to confront these types of allegations, but we know the program we put in place at that club over a long period of time and we know the care we had for all people in that club,” Clarkson said.

“It was the reason the club was so successful in that period.”

Clarkson, in his first season at Arden St, is bullish about what the lowly Kangaroos can achieve.

“I’m excited … trying to get them to believe that, yeah, they’re 18th for a reason, but they can get to first if they want,” he said.