Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson has stood down from his role and the AFL for an indefinite period.
Clarkson is in his first year as North Melbourne coach, but has been under pressure as a result of the investigation into treatment of Indigenous players during his time as Hawthorn coach.
“The club is providing its full support to Alastair and we commend him for making this important decision to put his health first,” North Melbourne president Dr Sonja Hood said.
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“Everyone involved has been deeply affected by the Hawthorn investigation and the burden on Alastair has been significant.”
Hood said Brett Ratten would act as interim coach, and did not put a timeline on Clarkson’s return.
“We will give Alastair whatever time he needs to restore his health and look forward to welcoming him back when he is fully fit,” she said.
“We have strong leaders at our club who will step up and support and coach our team while Alastair spends time focusing on his health.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Brett Ratten’s experience and capability to coach the team in the interim.”
Clarkson was coach at Hawthorn from 2005 until 2021, and led the Hawks to four premierships – including a historic three-peat from 2013 to 2015.
Adding to the pressure of the Hawthorn investigation, tensions between Clarkson and one-time protégé Sam Mitchell have simmered, after details of a story Clarkson told AFL academy prospects about Mitchell’s grand final struggles emerged.
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Clarkson has also been critical of the Hawks’ handling of the racism review, last week labelling it a “circus”.
“There’s one particular party out there that was the catalyst for all this, that haven’t been investigated at all,” he said.
“Their governance and conduct in this whole thing, the Hawthorn Football Club, just shameful.”
Ratten’s first game as interim Kangaroos coach will be against the Swans on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium. It is the AFL’s Indigenous round this week.
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