North Melbourne boss under fire over comment after David Noble exit

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Sonja Hood and David Noble, pictured here following the announcement of his departure.
Sonja Hood has come under fire over her comments following David Noble's departure. Image: Getty

Kane Cornes has taken exception to comments from North Melbourne president Sonja Hood following the departure of coach David Noble on Tuesday.

Noble was sacked after just five wins from 38 games in charge of the Kangaroos, saying he wasn't surprised at being removed from a job he held for less than two seasons.

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"I am comfortable that I gave my all ... but ultimately the scoreboard doesn't make for great reading," Noble told reporters.

Sitting alongside Noble at Tuesday's press conference, club president Hood was asked why he was removed with six games remaining in the season.

"Quite simply ... because it's just not working," she said.

The Kangaroos finished bottom of the ladder last season and have won just one game this year, with Noble leaving the club in the midst of a 14-game losing streak.

"While we appreciate we are at the beginning of a rebuild, it doesn't give us a free pass in terms of expecting competitive performances," Hood told reporters.

"We entered this season optimistic ... the pre-season sentiment internally was overwhelmingly positive.

"Resisting the urge to dream big, we set a simple benchmark: improve on last year ... put simply, we have failed to live up to those expectations.

"We need time. The one thing you can't fast-track in this industry, and any industry, is time."

However it were Hood's comments regarding the Kangaroos' playing list that shocked Cornes.

“I’m not interested in wholesale change,” she said. “We’ve got a really great playing list, really great playing list.

“A lot of talent on our list and a lot of talent among our people.”

Sonja Hood and David Noble, pictured here speaking to the media at Arden Street.
Sonja Hood and David Noble speak to the media at Arden Street. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Speaking on SEN radio on Wednesday, Cornes said: “I’ve never seen more spin from a club ever and it started with the president who spoke about the really great playing list.

“Every player has improved and they’ve got a great list … I mean what rubbish. Do they think footy supporters and North Melbourne supporters are dumb?

“You’ve just sacked the coach and the captain says every player has improved under him, I don’t think there has been – perhaps Luke Davies-Uniacke, he’s been the only one.

“But to say every player has improved, now I understand Jack (Ziebell) is just trying to back up the coach on a difficult day and send him off in a good light.

“But for the president to get up there and say we have a really great playing list is complete rubbish.

“To put it all on David Noble is also complete rubbish, which is what she has done.”

Kane Cornes, pictured here running onto the field for his 300th and final game for Port Adelaide in 2015.
Kane Cornes runs onto the field for his 300th and final game for Port Adelaide in 2015. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

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Cornes was also gobsmacked by reports that several players had called on the club to remove Noble.

“The player power part of this is fascinating for me as well, sounds like a few have said, ‘If he’s staying, we’re leaving’,” Cornes said.

“How’s the nerve on some of these players who have achieved nothing.

“Honestly it’s one of the worst playing groups we’ve ever seen, in the history of the game and they’ve got the nerve to say, and I’m speculating here, but ‘the coach is too hard on us’.”

David Noble, pictured here speaking to the players during North Melbourne's loss to Collingwood.
David Noble speaks to the players during North Melbourne's loss to Collingwood. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Kangaroos players assembled at the club's Arden Street headquarters on Tuesday morning and Noble told them of his departure, describing it as "one of the hardest things I have ever done".

"They were shattered," he said of the players.

"There was a lot of tears, a lot of emotion ... it was bloody tough."

On Wednesday, AFL legend Malcolm Blight urged the Kangaroos to approach Alastair Clarkson to be their next head coach.

Clarkson is taking a year away from coaching and has spoken to GWS about taking their vacant head coaching role from next season.

Hood refused to comment on whether the club had approached Clarkson, a four-time Hawthorn premiership coach who played with the Kangaroos, while also denying speculation the club had sounded out current West Coast coach Adam Simpson about returning to the club where he played.

with AAP

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