Exactly 2 months (May 18) after Alastair Clarkson stepped away from coaching North Melbourne, he returned to the club. For the time being, however, assistant Brett Ratten will continue to coach the senior side while Clarkson eases himself back to the position. Before his official return, he had been working off and on in different areas of the football department. Clarkson will spend the next month integrating back into the program with his initial focus on game analysis, game trends, opposition analysis, and working with the coaching group on game plan and strategy. He will resume his coaching duties ahead of Round 21 (another week).
Clarkson stepped away, citing a mental and physical toll attached to an investigation into alleged racism during his time at Hawthorn. The AFL has since announced no adverse findings against Clarkson, (Brisbane Coach) Chris Fagan, or Jason Burt over the allegations. The trio have always denied the allegations, which were first aired in September. (See Clarkson Takes Leave from North)
North president Dr Sonja Hood welcomed Clarkson's decision to ease himself back, "We are pleased that Alastair has been able to get the support he needs ... and work towards doing what he loves most and does best - coach the team. We’ve had some really good dialogue with Alastair and we’re all comfortable he’s ready to make a return into the football department ahead of getting back in the senior coach’s chair later this season."
Source: afl.com.au, Stacey Oates, North Melbourne Media Release
Article last changed on Saturday, July 22, 2023 - 6:26 PM EDT