Alastair Clarkson's admission after confrontation with female AFL reporter

The North Melbourne coach has addressed the controversy surrounding the female AFL reporter.

Pictured here, North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson looks on during AFL pre-season.
North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has told his side of the story after apologising over an aggressive confrontation with a female AFL reporter. Pic: Getty

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson says he can't guarantee he won't snap at a female AFL reporter again, despite apologising over the ugly incident. Clarkson said he was sorry after telling Nine journalist Elisabeth Moss “your time will come” after she and other journalists questioned him about allegations against Kangaroos player Tarryn Thomas.

The 22-year-old Thomas remains unavailable for selection at North Melbourne after stepping away from the club amid claims of harassment and intimidating behaviour from multiple women. Thomas was in court last week over allegations he violated a court order and is due to face court again on March 2.

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Clarkson is no stranger to run-ins with AFL reporters after a long and successful coaching career in the game that has included four premierships with Hawthorn. While the 54-year-old says he's remorseful about the latest incident after apologising to the Nine News reporter and her colleagues, the veteran coach put it down to “standing up for your people”.

The Kangaroos coach says his aggressive outburst was made with the interests of his players and club at heart. It's understood Clarkson spent some 45 minutes at the offices of Nine, attempting to explain his side of the story.

"It was a wake-up call for me, because it was confrontational," he told the Seven Network. "I spoke to a female journalist in a manner that I didn't think was condescending in any way whatsoever, really, except that I thought her behaviour was untoward - and she took offence to that. I apologised in the next couple of hours to her."

Seen here, Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson talks through a training drill during a pre-season camp.
Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson talks through a training drill during a pre-season camp. Pic: Getty

Alastair Clarkson felt need to defend his players

Clarkson dismissed suggestions that his combative nature and fiery temperament were a problem for himself or the club. In an eye-opening admission, he also said he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't happen again.

"You'd think, with the experience ... I've continually learned my lessons," he added. "But this has been with me ever since I was a kid - if I see something unjust or untoward, I will defend - and I saw something that was unjust and untoward.

"I felt like I needed to defend our players and staff and I can't give a guarantee I won't do that again in the future."

North football manager and long-time Clarkson confident Todd Viney said he had spoken to the coach about controlling his temper on Monday and making sure he's 'not a 'bulldozer' as Clarkson put it. The coach was adamant that his reactions came from a place of love and passion for the footy club. "I haven't really lost control ... because I was doing what I thought was in the best interests of the club," Clarkson added.

Clarkson also defended Thomas, who is back training with the club after taking a few weeks off to deal with with his off-field behaviour towards women. "You come in at 17-18 years of age and somewhere along the way, just the wheels fall off for a period of time," Clarkson added. "To be fair, everyone has issues in their life."

Clarkson, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and former colleague Jason Burt are also the subjects of an ongoing racism investigation, stemming from their time at Hawthorn. "It's tough when you have to confront these types of allegations, but we know the program we put in place at that club over a long period of time and we know the care we had for all people in that club," Clarkson said.

"It was the reason the club was so successful in that period."

with AAP

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