Alastair Clarkson during the AAMI Community Series match between North Melbourne and St Kilda. Picture: AFL Photos

NORTH Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has declined to discuss the outburst at St Kilda players that landed him a hefty fine and suspended ban, preferring to focus on the Roos' season-opener against Greater Western Sydney.

The AFL fined Clarkson $20,000 and gave him a two-match suspended sentence for conduct unbecoming, following his outburst towards Saints players during the quarter-time break, after Jimmy Webster concussed co-captain Jy Simpkin with a huge bump that saw him banned for seven matches.

Clarkson apologised in a statement accepting the penalty last week and, on Tuesday, the four-time premiership coach was not buying into any further questions on the matter.

"We dealt with all that last week, so I'm happy last week is over and we'll move into it. I covered all that last week on Monday through to Friday. So we're in a position now where we just want to focus on this week rather than the past," Clarkson said.

"I said last week we were going to put some things in place. We're just focusing on putting all our energies on GWS this week and trying to win a game of footy."


North Melbourne's very young and inexperienced backline will be in for a tough first outing against the Giants, after Callum Brown (five goals), Jesse Hogan and Brent Daniels (four each) filled their boots playing against reigning premier Collingwood.

Defenders Aidan Corr (ankle) and Luke McDonald (hamstring) are no certainties to play against GWS after injury-interrupted pre-seasons, despite having returned to VFL practice matches.

"[McDonald] is coming off a pretty severe hamstring injury which he's had before, so it's the second time he's had to recover from this type of injury, both surgical repairs. We're not certain, we'll probably err on the side of giving him another week or two, to get himself fully right and give himself the best chance so when he comes back in, he's back in to stay," Clarkson said.

"[Corr] is very similar to Luke McDonald, he had a pretty severe ankle injury just prior to Christmas, and he's played two games back now. We just need to determine this week if that's sufficient, or if he needs one or two more. We'll make that call this afternoon or tomorrow.

"It's pretty difficult, and that's what every team in the competition wants to have, potent weapons everywhere. Toby kicked one, I think, for Toby Greene to have lower impact on that game than he usually would have, yet they still beat the reigning premier by five goals. Our challenge is to make sure our defence is working well enough so we can cover all those options, because if we just cover one, someone else will bob up."

North Melbourne was busy at the top end of the draft yet again last year, and is poised to unleash two of its newest first-rounders against the Giants in Colby McKercher (pick No.2) and Zane Duursma (No.4), the latter selected with a compensation pick from Ben McKay's free agency move.

"They've been right in the mix, and they've played their pre-season games, although Duursma missed one of them against the Pies, we just rested him with a slight knee," Clarkson said.

Colby McKercher handballs during a practice match on February 21, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

"They're right in the mix to play, we'll select later this afternoon and probably confirm on Wednesday or Thursday.

"We've got 42 players to select from, which is a really good position to be in as a club, but it makes it a bit tough for the coaching staff to work out what the best mix is to go in against GWS."