Prominent AFL journalist Mike Sheehan believes Alastair Clarkson should return to coaching “the hard way” and join North Melbourne, saying the four-time premiership boss should not be motivated by just trying to win more flags.
Reports this week have revealed the Kangaroos are Clarkson’s leading suitors, with the great coach reportedly seeking $1.6 million a year in his next contract.
Clarkson has recently been approached by the Giants about their vacancy, although the club are said to be committed to a thorough process to decide their next coach.
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Clarkson told Fox Footy earlier this year that he would prioritize winning another flag after considering a return to coaching.
But speaking on Fox Football AFL 360 Plus, Shea has asked Shea to help build a rebuilding side like Rows in a move she hopes will enhance her legacy.
“Everybody says ‘Clarco’ wants to win another premiership, of course he does. But I think Clark has got one if he’s got the Jets crackers and he’s at Hawthorn and he’s going north when he’s playing.”
“Instead of saying I want a Premiership team that can arrive and lift the trophy in 22 weeks, make them a Premiership team.”
St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt added: “It’s a good point because he’s been rebuilding with Hawthorn and it’s taken time, but maybe he’ll find a way to match his 2008 success.”
While his intentions are still unknown, former North Melbourne player Clarkson praised his talent on Fox Footy in May.
“Some say, ‘Are you going to train North?’ Yes, yes,” he said.
And the Roos and Giants roles could be the only two open for next season as Clarkson’s options dwindle after Gold Coast and St Kilda signed Stuart Dew and Brett Ratton respectively.
Riewoldt said that “one variable” is not being discussed is whether Clarkson can sit out another season.
“We know there’s bound to be a lot of opportunities coming up over the next 12 months,” the five-time All-Australian said.
Although Sheehan can’t see the former Hawthorne boss spending two years out of the game.
“Every time you go out – Ross Lyon made this point, and ‘Bucs’ (Nathan Buckley) did too – if you’re not in the engine room, it takes you out of the game,” he said.
“I think he will be the coach next year, but I don’t think there are many options. Not because he’s not a good coach, but because of how things have gone down on the Gold Coast elsewhere.
“I would love to see him go north. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t win another flag. The footprint on the walking club will be very large.
“Obviously he’s got that goal[to win another premiership]but do it the hard way. I appreciate that even more, it has four flags.
Regarded as the greatest manager of all time, Clarkson led the club to 10 finals and four premierships during his 390-game spell at the club.
And given his lofty position in the game, Riewoldt believes he’s pondering how joining a struggling team like the 18th Rows will affect his legacy.
“The stage is set. If he comes back and goes to North Melbourne and doesn’t do it, do you think there’s a risk, the narrative that even Clarkson can’t do it? Or will it damage his legacy in any way? Because I think that’s what he’s weighing,” he said.
Sheehan argued that it “doesn’t hurt his legacy” and that “nothing can change what he’s done”, although Riewelt argued that “I don’t think the greats see that”.
Another name linked with the Rose job is Ross Lyon, the former St Kilda and Fremantle boss who said a return to coaching was “not on my radar” but could welcome a call from North “out of respect”.
And Rialdt, who played in three grand finals under Lyon during his successful spell at Saints, does not expect his former manager to return to the caper.
“Rossy was very cryptic with his answers,” he said. I would be very surprised if he comes back (anywhere).