Just shy of a fortnight after parting ways with David Noble and still basking in the afterglow of their second win for the 2022 season, North Melbourne is reportedly readying itself to make a colossal play for mastermind Alastair Clarkson.
Though currently under the watch of interim steward and former midfielder Leigh Adams, the Kangaroos are said to have whittled their hunt down to just one name, with the four-time premiership coach seen as the man to lead them out of their current mire.
As first reported by 7News' Tom Browne, the Arden Street side is apparently willing to spend nigh-on a quarter of their soft cap to land Clarkson on a deal suggested to be worth within the vicinity of $1.6 million a season.
“One club is going to act swiftly on Clarkson, and it’s the Kangaroos,” Browne said on Wednesday night.
“I’m told tonight North has gone all-in on the premiership coach, the Kangaroos now in the box seat.
“Clarkson’s asking price is up to $1.6 million a season … the Giants might land Adam Yze or Adam Kingsley, for example, for a third of the price."
North is in the box seat to land Alastair Clarkson.
I’m told the Kangaroos have gone all in, obviously prepared to offer him the job without going through candidates etc.
The Giants are comfortable with this, they are committed to running an extensive process.
— Tom Browne (@TomBrowne7) July 20, 2022
Given the league's soft cap will be set at $6,950,000 for the 2023 season, should Clarkson commit to the Roos' offered riches and return back to Arden Street for the first time since 1995, the 54-year-old would go on to consume 23 per cent of the budget.
Browne's report of the narrowed pedagogical focus comes after North Melbourne powerbrokers met on Wednesday - a meeting that club president Dr. Sonja Hood confirmed centered around headhunting their 39th full-time head coach.
The Kangaroos' ramped-up pursuit is also said to have come off the back of Geoff Walsh completing his highly-publicised review into the struggling side.
Though it is yet to be seen whether Clarkson will, once again, don blue and white after ending his 93-game career as a Kangaroo nearly three decades ago, should the rebuilding club's meetin with the league regarding a priority pick, the mastermind may be able to commence another tenure with a bevy of top-end picks.
Ahead of his inaugural season at Hawthorn's helm in 2005, Clarkson was able to begin building a premiership roster at pace, having been gifted each of Jarryd Roughead, Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis at the draft just months prior.
Speaking via his usual pew on Footy Classified, the 55-year-old swatted away claims that his hat was in the ring, claiming that he was "not canvassing" and that North Melbourne officials had not made contact with him.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan added to the discourse by claiming that Clarkson obviously had a desire to recommence his career in the coaches box.
“I think it’s accepted that Alastair wants to coach next year – I think I’m saying things that are understood – and he’s a great coach. The rest of it’s up to him and the clubs that might be looking for a coach," McLachlan said on Fox Footy's AFL 360.
North Melbourne will return to their home away from home in Hobart on Sunday to take on Clarkson's former side Hawthorn at Blundstone Arena.