The AFL’s most wanted man is said to be “moving quickly” towards a decision regarding his future.
Alastair Clarkson’s signature has been the hottest commodity on the AFL market with North Melbourne and the GWS Giants in hot pursuit.
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Earlier in the week when turmoil broke out at Essendon, it became clear a new horse had entered the race.
On Tuesday the Giants were informed Clarkson intended on remaining in Victoria, eliminating them from bringing in the four-time premiership coach.
Last week reports emerged Clarkson was on the brink of signing a five-year contract to take charge of the bottom of the ladder Kangaroos.
But the Bombers threw a cat among the pigeons with Clarkson said to be interested in taking charge of the struggling club.
The man himself spoke about his future for the first time after he flew into Adelaide for personal reasons.
“To be fair, what’s going on in my life at the present time is secondary to a tragedy that’s happened in the Caulfield Grammar community,” Clarkson said.
“I’m here to see a good friend of mine and then get myself back to Melbourne.”
On Wednesday, Clarkson’s manager James Henderson released a statement to Eddie McGuire stating “Clarko is now moving quickly to a decision” with both Essendon and North Melbourne reportedly expecting a decision by this weekend.
“In the next 24 hours we’ll find out what the (new) president David Barham has to say about Ben Rutten,” McGuire told 9 News Melbourne.
“My understanding is tomorrow (Thursday) will be the day and he’s still not 100 per cent to be coaching on the weekend.
“It could all end at Essendon for him tomorrow.”
Clarkson played 93 games for North Melbourne and Kangaroos legend Wayne Carey said he would be surprised if Clarkson turned his back on North if negotiations had progressed significantly.
“If Alastair Clarkson was a fair way down the track with North Melbourne, I’d be very surprised, knowing Clarko, and knowing the way he conducts himself, I’d be very surprised if he did a backflip,” Carey told Triple M.
“I know a lot of people think he will, but I’d be surprised if he did a backflip, just knowing what type of character he is.”
Hawthorn great Luke Hodge, who played under Clarkson, believes a lengthy deal and the ability to bring in his own assistants and support staff could lure the master coach to North Melbourne.
“If you look at North Melbourne, he’s got five years of grace,” Hodge said on SEN.
“He’s got five years of bringing in the people he wants. In three years if they’re still developing, North Melbourne have had a poor record for a few years, they need change, they need someone to come in and Clarko is the person to come in to bring sponsors, to bring members, to bring hope and positivity going into the future.
“If you go to Essendon, all of a sudden that five-year grace isn’t there. Essendon is a team that wants (immediate) success. They’re desperate for success.
“They got rid of Matthew Knights because he wasn’t doing the job after two years, obviously what happened with James Hird, but then they weren’t happy with John Worsfold because he wasn’t getting there quick enough, Ben Rutten made the finals in his first year and now in the second year they’re trying to get rid of him.”
Originally published as Alastair Clarkson is said to be ‘moving quickly’ towards a decision on his coaching future