Alastair Clarkson met with GWS officials on Thursday as coaching search continues

Gillon McLachlan has confirmed the possibility that Alastair Clarkson could access ambassadorial funds to boost the salary he receives as a senior coach.

Alastair Clarkson met Giants officials on Thursday, challenging popular opinion that he was on the verge of signing with North Melbourne.

Clarkson flew into Sydney without his manager James Henderson and is understood to have caught up with Giants chief executive David Matthews and head of football Jason McCartney.

It’s not known if a formal offer was made to the four-time premiership coach.

That Clarkson remains a part of the Giants process suggests he hasn’t made up his mind about whether to coach the Kangaroos or the Giants.

North Melbourne has launched a feverish chase of Clarkson to be its senior coach next year.

Club president Sonja Hood said this week the club was “comfortable’’ with its discussions with him.

Clarkson is still open to staying out of football for 2023 if he cannot be satisfied that he can thrive at a club with an elite football department, medical and recruitment team as well as an elite chief executive and president.

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Alastair Clarkson is weighing up multiple coaching offers. Picture: Getty Images
Alastair Clarkson is weighing up multiple coaching offers. Picture: Getty Images

He is so keen to ensure a stable environment as coach he wants to know who would replace Giants chairman Tony Shepherd if he stepped down as expected at the end of the year.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan appeared to open a loophole when he said on Friday coaches like Clarkson might be able to secure ambassadorial funds for coaching after they were hired by a club.

But it is understood no current coaches are handed any meaningful ambassadorial funds, including 2022 expansion coaches Stuart Dew and Leon Cameron, who was moved on this year.

“They can get them but not in the lead-in to an agreement. So, we need our coaches and players to market products, parts of the code, whatever, but they are never part of the agreement,” McLachlan said on 3AW.

“So, if you are talking about Alastair Clarkson, he will not be able to bank on, in dealings with North Melbourne or GWS, or whoever he might be talking to other than to say he has to make his decision on terms offered to him in the salary cap within that framework. If he then signs with whoever that team is, if there is an opportunity or role to market something, then they come up, that’s the same way applies to all players and coaches.”

The GWS process is expected to run through the end of the home-and-away season with hopeful Adem Yze expected to be part of the Demons run deep into finals and Adam Kingsley’s Richmond still in finals contention.

Clarkson met with the Giants on Thursday. Picture: Michael Klein
Clarkson met with the Giants on Thursday. Picture: Michael Klein

The Giants have cap space issues and will likely move on Bobby Hill, Jacob Hopper and Tanner Bruhn, with Tim Taranto’s future also up for grabs.

GWS is keen to solve those cap issues in this off-season but Clarkson’s opinion of taking up a list with cap issues and multiple player departures is not known.

If Clarkson decides to take up the GWS role - or not take up either position - the Roos will be a month behind in their coaching search.

When Paul Roos suggested David Noble be approached as the club’s coach many senior coaching aspirants were not prepared to be interviewed by North Melbourne.

But given two years of development and a likely suite of picks as part of an assistance package the Roos will be much more appealing.

The likes of Richmond’s Kingsley will be part of a coaching search given their determination to secure a senior coaching role.

Originally published as Alastair Clarkson met with GWS officials on Thursday as coaching search continues

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