Separate planes: Clarkson to avoid Hawks on flight back from Tasmania

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson will take a different flight, away from his team, to avoid conflict with his old team Hawthorn in the trip back from Saturday’s match in Launceston.

Clarkson revealed on Thursday that he had suggested to North Melbourne that he catch a different flight – the teams travel down separately but fly back on the same flight after the game – to avoid Hawthorn people amid the ongoing AFL inquiry into Hawthorn in which Clarkson is a central figure.

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson will not be on the shared flight home with his former club.Credit:Getty Images

“We’ve got a charter flight coming back together. So I won’t jump on that flight, I’ll come on a different flight,” Clarkson said.

“I just don’t think that given the investigation that I’m embroiled in with Hawthorn, I don’t think it’s a great idea that we’d be sitting on a plane together.”

Clarkson pointed out that the player races at games were no longer together “because of the emotion of what might happen when two teams come off at half-time at the end of the game, so let’s separate them. Yet it’s OK at the end of a game to put two teams on a plane.”

He said given what he was experiencing in the inquiry – the AFL is investigating the alleged mistreatment of First Nations players and their partners in a drawn out process – it was wise for him to take a different flight.

“I don’t think it’s particularly smart given what’s going on with me at this present time that I jump on a plane. So I’ll jump on a different flight,” he said.

“I just don’t think it’s wise. I spoke to the club earlier in the week and just said, listen given that in most instances when you have flights like this that are not charter flights and you’re coming back in separate … we’re going down in separate planes but coming back on the same plane.

“It’s just not wise that you put yourself in that position. I don’t think it’s fair on anyone from within Hawthorn and I don’t think it’s fair on anyone from within North Melbourne really to have to subject themselves to that.

“If I’m sort of the central figure in that then it just it takes all the fizz out of it altogether if just come back on a new flight.”

Clarkson’s relationship with Hawthorn senior figures, particularly chief executive Justin Reeves, has become hostile as a result of a Hawthorn-commissioned report that contained allegations against the coach and his lieutenants. Clarkson and his former colleagues Chris Fagan and Jason Burt have strenuously denied the allegations.

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