Viney urges Kangaroos players, fans to stay strong

·2-min read
Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

North Melbourne football boss Todd Viney has urged the club's players and supporters to stay strong during the latest crisis at the Kangaroos.

Master coach Alastair Clarkson has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the club, just nine games into his high-profile stint at Arden St.

North are confident Clarkson will return to coaching once he deals with the emotional turmoil brought on by the ongoing Hawthorn racism investigation.

The Kangaroos, who have collected the past two wooden spoons, will have a fourth different coach in 17 games when former Carlton and St Kilda mentor Brett Ratten takes charge against Sydney at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

David Noble was sacked in July last year, Leigh Adams was caretaker coach for the final six games of the 2022 season, and Clarkson was appointed as North's saviour in August.

"I think it'd be normal for those players to feel like they've been cursed," Viney said on Thursday.

"They've been through a lot in these last four years, the change of coaches and the like.

"They were a resilient group already, this will continue to make them more resilient.

"But they are feeling for the coach. Their number one priority is to make sure that he (Clarkson) knows he's got their support and that they want him to just get better.

"To our members and supporters, just know our club has really strong leadership."

Viney reflected on his own experiences at Melbourne as a player and coach when the Demons spent decades struggling on and off the field.

The Demons broke a 57-year premiership drought in 2021 and are right in contention to add another flag to their collection this year.

"The reality is I have been through a similar journey at the Melbourne footy club where I just didn't feel like we were ever going to get out of the dark clouds," Viney said.

"You just stay the course, you have good leadership and the wheel's going to turn.

"The players feel that and they know the wheel will turn."

He is confident Ratten will seamlessly fill in for Clarkson, with the pair having worked together at Hawthorn during the Hawks' golden era last decade.

"We don't think we'll miss a beat, with 'Ratts' being an experienced coach and having spent a lot of time with 'Clarko'," Viney said.