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Aussie Rules: The five options for Alastair Clarkson

Alastair Clarkson is tipped to make a return to coaching in the 2023 AFL season and he is not short of options, so where will the former Hawthorn coach end up next year?

Clarkson has been away from the AFL in 2022 after stepping aside at Hawthorn last year to let former player Sam Mitchell take the reins and lead the rebuild.

There have been doubts over whether Clarkson would return to coaching in the AFL at all. Even though he clearly loves coaching, it does bring its trials, tribulations and stress. And maybe the 54 year old would like a quieter life.

However that now looks unlikely. Clarkson is itching to get back into the arena and there are a couple of clubs that are jumping out at him.

It is no surprise North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney are keen to lure him out of retirement. Clarkson worked wonders during his time at Hawthorn.

He guided the Hawks to four premierships during his time with the club and is the perfect coach to turn around a struggling club and get them challenging for honours.

So where will Clarkson end up in 2023?

North Melbourne

The Kangaroos are on the look out for yet another coach after parting company with David Noble earlier in the season and it is no surprise that Clarkson has been linked with the role.

He is a former player for starters. He made 93 appearances for them between 1987 and 1995 so there is a connection.

The big question is, would Clarkson be keen on taking on such a huge job? North Melbourne are in need of a huge re-build.

They have been struggling at the foot of the AFL for some time now and have won just two games this season to sit bottom of the ladder.

Coaches have come and gone, but there has been no improvement. Clarkson would be a club legend if he could turn the tide with the Kangaroos and that could appeal.

This despite the fact he has hinted he wants a club that are not far away from being a premiership contender. North Melbourne are some way off. 

Greater Western Sydney

The Giants appear to be in the box seat to land Clarkson after some reports claimed that further talks between the two parties took place last week.

GWS are on the look out for a new coach after Leon Cameron left the role towards the start of the season. Mark McVeigh took the job on an interim basis but has not done enough to land it in the long-term.

The club sit third from bottom on the ladder having won just six games all season and Clarkson is seen as the man to take them back up the ladder.

They should not be that far away. They made finals last season after all and were in the grand final in 2019. The Giants still have most of those players on board and boast a list that is packed with quality.

They include Toby Greene, Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio so with a bit of guidance from Clarkson they have the potential to be pushing at the right end of the ladder.

Other possible destinations

North Melbourne and GWS are the two main contenders for now but that is not to say other opportunities will not present themselves in the coming weeks.

Other positions could become vacant and Clarkson, if available, is sure to be linked.

Not that long ago, Ben Rutten was under heavy pressure at Essendon and there was talk of Clarkson stepping in to replace him.

However the Bombers have since gone on a good run of form when winning four out of the last six games. That could keep Rutten in a job for now at least and there is a good chance he will still be at the helm for the start of 2023.

West Coast Eagles have also been linked. They have had a season to forget and although they see Adam Simpson as the man to turn things around, there have been suggestions he could move on.

Simpson has been linked with the North Melbourne job and if he did take it then no doubt the Eagles would consider Clarkson as a replacement.

One other possibility is Clarkson taking charge of the AFL’s 19th club. It has yet to be confirmed but Tasmania are pushing hard to have a team in the AFL.

If it was to come off then Clarkson would be top of the list to coach them. However it will be some way down the line and Clarkson could be in another job by then.

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