Alastair Clarkson signs five-year contract with North Melbourne

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Four-time premiership winning coach Alastair Clarkson has ended weeks of speculation, confirming he’ll take over at North Melbourne in 2023.

In an announcement from the club, the Kangaroos said agreement was reached on Thursday night on a five-year deal.

Clarkson’s decision to join the Kangaroos muddies the waters at Essendon, who had been chasing Clarkson to replace Ben Rutten.

Clarkson previously coached Hawthorn for 17 seasons, winning premierships in 2008, as well as the three-peat of 2013-14-15.

The Kangaroos have endured a tough few years, having not played finals football since 2016. Only an unlikely win this weekend would prevent them claiming a second straight wooden spoon.

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Clarkson will be the fourth coach in five years at North Melbourne, returning to the club where he played 93 matches between 1987-1995.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the professionalism of Alastair and his manager James Henderson over this past four weeks,” club president Sonja Hood wrote in a letter to members.

“We’ve had a crash course in getting to know each other and Alastair’s passion to drive our club back to where we belong is incredibly infectious.

“Today is a good day. Alastair’s coming home. To our home.”

North Melbourne great David King says Clarkson’s appointment is the start of a fresh, exciting chapter for the club.

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“Can I say well done Sonja Hood. She was prepared to cop the backlash that was going to come if the attempt was a failed one,” King told SEN.

“This is a massive day for the North Melbourne Football Club. Welcome home Alastair.

“Let’s hope he can correct what has been a shambolic situation over the previous couple of years.

“This is so good. So good for the Kangas. Essendon will be all the talk, but this is a great day for North Melbourne.”