Hawthorne reached a final settlement with Alastair Clarkson, paying the four-time Premier League coach the $450,000 he still owes him from his previous contract.
Sources familiar with the arrangement said Clarkson had paid the outstanding amount – the second part of his 2022 contract to coach the club – in mid-November as planned.
Clarkson’s camp has been concerned that allegations against Clarkson and other Hawthorne officials by Aboriginal players and their families could cause the Eagles to delay or withhold $450,000 in the second tranche of his $900,000 2022 contract.
The $450,000 is included in Hawthorn’s soft cap of football department spending this year, with the club refraining from allocating any further amounts to next year’s soft cap. At one point the club had hoped to spread that $900,000 over three years, with about $300,000 of that included in the 2023 soft cap, but the Eagles have found room to allocate the final $450,000 to the 2022 football budget.
The payment ended Clarkson’s official business relationship with the Hawks. He left the club at the end of the 2021 season after the club and coach agreed to hand over his coaching duties to Sam Mitchell 12 months earlier than initially agreed.
Hawthorne legal chief Nick Holland contacted Clarkson’s management shortly after his appointment by North to warn Clarkson not to violate his contractual obligations — including not poaching players, staff or sponsors ——This is obviously dissatisfaction with the former coach.
At the media conference announcing his appointment, Hawthorn called Clarkson’s management partly because Clarkson was wearing North Melbourne kit and the club’s main sponsor, Mazda, was wearing a polo shirt, sources said. Hawthorne has no objection to Clarkson and North hiring Eagles clerk Cam Matthews in the football department.
Under the terms of his arrangement with Hawthorne, Clarkson has been banned from coaching in North Melbourne until November. He was then embroiled in allegations by former players and their partners that stemmed from a club-commissioned cultural safety review that was the subject of an AFL investigation.
Clarkson and former lieutenant and Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan will be involved in the investigation alongside former Hawthorne benefits manager Jason Burt, with the three strenuously denying the allegations and hiring separate legal counsel. The AFL has appointed a four-member panel to handle the inquiry, including two members of the Aboriginal panel, which will be chaired by the King’s lawyer, Bernard Quinn.
Clarkson has been in charge of the Kangaroos since November 1, despite an initial decision that his start as North Melbourne manager may be delayed due to an AFL investigation. He was signed by the Roos on a five-year deal, rejecting a late bid from Essendon. The Kangaroos have just signed former Hawthorne Premier League midfielder Liam Shears After the Eagles did not offer the veteran a contract.