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Alastair Clarkson press conference; to coach North Melbourne Kangaroos, press conference Essendon Bombers, Ben Rutten sacked, coaching situation

Alastair Clarkson says his decision to coach North Melbourne “feels good” after the club beat Essendon to sign the four-time premiership boss.

The Kangaroos confirmed on Friday morning that the super coach would join the club on a five-year deal, ending weeks of speculation over his highly-anticipated decision.

Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon, Clarkson opened up about the decision.

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“I had a feeling with Essendon, and I’ve got a lot of respect for GWS, but this just felt right. I feel comfortable here. It was a difficult place to be, and I knew it was becoming a circus. I don’t like being the center of attention,” he said.

Clarkson said it was “too late” to take the offer from Essendon seriously.

“We’ve been on the road with North and GSS, Essendon’s process has come too late to be taken seriously.

“I listened to what they were saying out of respect. Due diligence takes more than four days for me.

In a letter to members, president Sonja Hood described the coup as “a real watershed moment for our club.”

“I am delighted to announce last night that Alastair Clarkson has agreed to coach the North Melbourne Football Club for the next five seasons,” said Hood.

“Our former number 23 Shinbonner #781 and four-time Premier League coach will lead our talented young squad from 2023 until at least 2027.

“This is a real watershed for our club. First of all I am writing to share with members and supporters… this is a time for all of us.

“Today is a good day. Alastair is coming home. To our home.”

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Hood praised Clarkson and manager James Henderson for how they handled the delicate negotiations.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the professionalism of Alastair and manager James Henderson over the last four weeks. We had a crash course in getting to know each other and Alastair’s desire to bring our club back to us is incredibly infectious,” she wrote.

Clarkson will officially take over on November 1.

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