Football and Sports News

Leigh Matthews says Alastair Clarkson a big soft cap gamble, contract, $1 million, Todd Viney, Craig McRae, Adam Kingsley

AFL legend Leigh Matthews believes North Melbourne’s appointment of coaching great Alastair Clarkson is the first big gamble of the Soft Cup era.

The Rows beat Essendon last week and are estimated to cost Clarkson around $1 million a season on a five-year deal. Clarkson is expected to bring former Hawthorn colleague Todd Viney to Arden Street as his right-hand man in a coaching development role.

And speaking on 3AW, Matthews predicted North would spend 20 percent of the soft cap – set at $6.95 million for 2023 – on Clarkson and Viney alone (which would total around $1.4 million).

Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend with ad-free in-game streaming on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

“In the soft cap era… desperate clubs do desperate things. I guess the North is desperate,” he said on 3AW.

“If you’re going to go get a $1 million coach, you’re limiting what you can do with the rest of your football department.

“I guess North probably did what they had to do, they needed someone with a big name like that. If it cost them $1 million, they paid $1 million.

Matthews projected a salary of around $500,000-$600,000 for Collingwood coach Craig McRae at one point and his senior assistants Justin Leptsch and Brendon Bolton, who have been praised for their impressive roles at the Magpies. Season, it will be similar to Clarkson.

Clark’s plans for Horne-Francis at Roos | 02:33

The four-time premiership boss reckons new Giants coach Adam Kingsley will be paid the same as McRae, pointing out how GWS will give him more money in the softball to support a good football class.

“Kingley has the same background as McRae — very experienced in the system, this is his first go at a head coach, but he’s been in the background for 15 good years,” Matthews said. “Chris Fagan came from that kind of background a few years ago.

Matthews added that it is interesting how “different clubs will have different responses” to how the soft cap is administered, questioning the wisdom of raising such a large sum of money.

“Essendon is a club that needs a coach. The fact that they were desperate to get Alastair Clarkson, they must be thinking, ‘If we can get the $1 million guaranteed coach, we’ll get it.’

But if Essendon or North Melbourne paid $1 million for a senior coach, I don’t know how much they’ve done on a smooth calculation… but I’m sure the Giants.

“But this is probably the first big $1 million dollar coach hired in the three- or four-year-old softball era.”

Related Articles