North coach Clarkson declines to elaborate on outburst

Oliver Caffrey |

Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson had a tetchy first press conference since his pre-season outburst.
Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson had a tetchy first press conference since his pre-season outburst.

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has refused to answer questions in his first press conference since being fined for an explosive tirade at St Kilda players.

Clarkson vowed to work on controlling his famous temper after last week receiving a $20,000 fine and a suspended two-match ban for an outburst directed at Saints defenders Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard.

His spray came after Webster delivered a heavy bump on North co-captain Jy Simpkin, who remains sidelined after his third concussion in 12 months.

Clarkson, who has accepted the sanctions, was asked to explain his actions to the AFL after allegedly using the homophobic slur “c*******er” in the flashpoint during North’s practice match against the Saints.

The 55-year-old issued two statements regarding the incident, and gave a TV interview after being sanctioned by the AFL.

But ahead of North’s round-one game against Greater Western Sydney, Clarkson was forced to front a press conference for the first time, and became involved in a tense exchange.

“We dealt with all that last week mate, so I’m happy that last week’s over,” Clarkson said at Arden St on Tuesday.

“I covered all that last Monday through Friday, so we’re in a position now where we just want to focus on this week rather than the past.”

The famously fiery coach was then asked if he felt he would be able to change his behaviour.

“I said last week we were going to put some things in place … who knows mate?,” he said.

“I’m just focusing on putting all our energy into GWS this week to try and win a game of footy.”

Clarkson, a four-time Hawthorn premiership coach, has a long history of flare-ups and confrontations.

In February last year, he apologised for making a threatening comment to a television reporter during an altercation.

He famously had to be held back from Matthew Lloyd after the Essendon champion broke Brad Sewell’s cheekbone with a bump in 2009.

In 2012, Clarkson punched a hole in the MCG coaching box wall, and admitted to swearing at a junior club official during an under-age football match.

And in 2017 he was fined $20,000 by the AFL (with $15,000 suspended) after he said he could not comment on “disgraceful umpiring” in Hawthorn’s loss to Gold Coast.