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The Roar


'Significant reflective moment for me': AFL hands down ruling on Clarkson over Saints spray

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8th March, 2024

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has received a $20,000 fine from the AFL as punishment for a fiery spray during the Kangaroos’ pre-season clash with St Kilda, in which he abused Saints players Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard.

Clarkson is alleged to have called the two players ‘c–ksuckers’ in response to Webster’s brutal hit that concussed Kangaroos co-captain Jy Simpkin, for which he copped a seven-week suspension from the AFL Tribunal.

In addition to the fine, Clarkson has also been handed a suspended two-week ban that will expire in 2025, as well as a requirement to undertake Pride in Sport training.

In a statement released by the Kangaroos, the four-time premiership coach apologised for his behaviour.

“At the outset, I want to reiterate my initial public apology and acknowledge that my exchange with the St Kilda players was unnecessary and the language I used was inappropriate,” Clarkson said in the statement. 

“I am disappointed that I allowed the emotion of the moment to envelope me and I should not have engaged with the St Kilda players. 

“I have since apologised to St Kilda coach Ross Lyon, Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard for the manner in which I reacted. 


“This has been a significant reflective moment for me. My language was not used with any intent to vilify or marginalise, however through this incident I have begun to understand the impact of the use of casual language. I am fully committed to educating myself in this regard.

“In terms of my reaction to the incident involving Jy, I have been doing some work to understand why I respond in the manner I do, but also to develop strategies I can implement in these moments.”

Clarkson’s history of outbursts both on and off the field prompted calls for a heftier punishment, with some even suggesting a suspension was in order.

Simpkin will miss the Kangaroos’ Round 1 clash with GWS after entering the AFL’s concussion protocols.