Kane Cornes has taken Alastair Clarkson to task over his comments regarding North Melbourne's 90-point loss to Melbourne, while also highlighting the Kangaroos' 'disgraceful' play in the first quarter. Clarkson suffered his heaviest defeat as a coach in 17 years on Saturday night as the Demons ran out 22.7 (139) to 7.7 (49) winners.
But the Kangaroos coach was trying to find some positives while speaking to reporters in his post-match press conference. Clarkson claimed there were some aspects of the game in which his players shined, saying: “There were things about our game – I thought we played better tonight than we’ve played in the last two weeks.
'PETTINESS': Brett Kirk caught in awkward scenes with Toby Greene
“Usually when you lose a game by 15 goals you haven’t been able to get the ball inside 50 and you have been smashed in clearances. We competed in different areas of the game really, really well.”
The comments left Cornes gobsmacked on Sunday morning as he dissected North's performance on the Footy Show. “He was watching a different game to me, Alastair Clarkson,” Cornes said.
The Port Adelaide champion highlighted vision of Kangaroos players showing a complete lack of effort in the opening stages of the match, which resulted in the Demons kicking the first six goals of the game and going to quarter-time up 50-6.
"The first five minutes in this game was as bad as you are ever going to see. I want to highlight the lack of effort and the fact that they are witches hats," Cornes said.
“This is Cam Zurhaar who did a lot of talking in the off-season. How is this for a chase, three minutes into the game and goes with the one hand.
“This is disgraceful vision here. (Nick) Larkey here so senior players, easily outmarked from Steven May. They then get the switch and they’re all guarding space. Watch (Bayley) Fritsch here who has come up and watch (Max) Gawn here.
“The amount of players they both run past, we’re three minutes into the game, give me some effort North Melbourne. It’s not talent, it’s all effort.
“Fritsch, who was in the back-line has run past six North Melbourne opponents, bobs up and kicks the goal. The ease of how this comes through the front of the stoppage, this is training stuff – first day back of pre-season.
“Watch (Christian) Petracca exploding through the stoppage, (Kysaiah) Pickett is doing the same. (Griffin) Logue is sitting way off his opponent and there is an easy uncontested mark inside 50. All within the first four minutes of the game.
“(Jaidyn) Stephenson here, what sort of tackle is that? That is embarrassing. We’ll watch (Aidan) Corr who signed a five-year contract and he just falls over. This is uncompetitive stuff."
"The first five minutes in this game was as bad football as you are ever going to see."@kanecornes on the 'disgraceful' vision that shows how far off the pace from the start the Kangaroos were in their loss to Melbourne. #9AFLSFS | @Channel9 pic.twitter.com/VXGKPQa2uJ
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) April 30, 2023
North Melbourne savaged over 'embarrassing' scenes
Cornes described North's performance as "embarrassing" and called on Clarkson to take some accountability. “Clarkson reckons their performance was better, he’s watching a different game," Cornes said.
"The first seven minutes this game is over. Here’s the Norm Smith Medalist, top of the goal-square and nobody goes anywhere near him.
“The victory lap was long when they signed Alastair Clarkson. It has quickly finished. Honestly, it is embarrassing and they need to be better than that. That is not talent. That is effort in the first five minutes of the game.”
On Fox Sports on Saturday night, Hawthorn great Dermot Brereton said: “You’re a new coach and great coach. How do you stomach what they dished up in the first quarter?
“Some of the efforts when they were 0-6 goals down right at the start of the game. That is on the player, his want and his desire to participate and commit to the task. And the coach has to shoulder some of the responsibility of saying, ‘I motivate them.’
“Team sport you’ve really got to reach your team and get them emotionally invested. You can say it’s up to them, but you’ve still got do that job, and they weren’t invested right from the get go.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.