ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Senior Coach of the Power Ken Hinkley is seen during the 2019 AFL round 04 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on April 13, 2019 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has been labelled as a "better fit" for North Melbourne than four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.

The Kangaroos are understood to have their sights strongly set on Clarkson's services, which may be available for next season as the coaching great weighs up a return to the AFL landscape.

In the wake of David Noble's failed tenure and departure at Arden Street, the Roos are in need of an experienced coach to lead them back to the promised land.

Clarkson has indicated he would only take over a list that could contend for a premiership in the near future, a prerequisite North Melbourne may not meet.

This week, president Sonja Hood conceded that the club's current list is unlikely to meet the finals frame for close to three years as they work through another coaching handover.

But while Clarkson is likely seen as the Roos' No.1 target, Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes threw Hinkley's name into the ring, suggesting he may be better suited for the young side.

Speaking on Footy Classified, Cornes highlighted Hinkley's impressive first few seasons at Alberton Oval to mould the Power into a premiership contender.

“I think North Melbourne’s priority is with Clarkson, but I think Hinkley is almost a better fit," Cornes said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Power head coach Ken Hinkley looks on during the round 22 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Port Adelaide Power at Marvel Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“If you look at when he took over at Port Adelaide, it’s about as good of a comparison as you can get with North.

“It was a complete mess … the coach had gone, the president was gone, no one was turning up to games, the club was financially a mess.

“They had five wins in 2012, three wins in 2011, then he came in with good people around him in Alan Richardson and Darren Burgess, Keith Thomas was a magnificent CEO.

“We (Port Adelaide) then won a final the next year in 2013.

“If you’re looking for a rebuilding coach that sets really hard standards but is a good honest person that can still have some fun, that would work.

“I think that probably works for Port Adelaide as well.

“After 10 years it’s a fresh start, perhaps with a younger coach or a coach who’s been there before it could be a win-win for both.”

Hinkley is currently contracted to Port Adelaide until the end of next season, and has doubled-down on his duties to the South Australian club recently following further suggestions he could be of interest to GWS, who are also chasing a new senior coach.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Adam Kingsley, Midfield/Stoppages Coach of the Tigers addresses his players during the 2021 AFL Round 07 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 30, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

In the shock outcome that Hinkley does depart the Power, Cornes named Richmond senior coach Damien Hardwick and his assistant Adam Kingsley as two fitting candidates to succeed Hinkley.

“There’s a connection there,” Cornes said of Hardwick.

“It could be Adam Kingsley who’s a premiership player at Port Adelaide if they wanted to go for an untried one.”

Kingsley has recently expressed his interest in stepping into a senior coaching role in the AFL after narrowly missing out on positions at Carlton and Collingwood last year.

Hardwick is contracted at Punt Road until the end of the 2024 season.