NORTH Melbourne's all-in pursuit of Alastair Clarkson is moving toward the pointy-end of discussions, with club chair Sonja Hood "comfortable" with the content of multiple conversations with the four-time premiership coach and his management in the past week.
As revealed by AFL.com.au last week, the Roos have chosen, at the outset of their search for a fourth coach in four years, to engage exclusively with Clarkson.
CLARKO ROOS' SOLE FOCUS North to deal exclusively with four-flag coach
That process began with Hood engaging with Clarkson's manager James Henderson during a round 19 match in Hobart and has ramped up with meetings in the past week.
The Roos are well aware Clarkson is also in negotiations with representatives of the only other AFL coach vacancy, Greater Western Sydney.
"We are comfortable with the way conversations are going with Alastair," Hood told AFL.com.au on Thursday.
"We are working through it all – does he want what we want, and do we want what he wants?"
After parting with David Noble after round 17, North Melbourne determined that its next coach should be one already proven at senior level, as Noble's departure followed that of Rhyce Shaw, also untried until given the Roos job in mid-2019, at the end of 2020.
North Melbourne powerbrokers decided Clarkson would be approached and given time to consider the role, without other candidates being canvassed at the same time.
Only in the event of Clarkson rejecting the job, or if certain issues can't be mutually agreed to, would the club open dialogue with other already-proven coaches, including Ross Lyon, Don Pyke and Mark Williams.
Clarkson has been paid nearly $1 million by Hawthorn to not coach this year, and while he may choose to reject both North Melbourne and GWS, he has made it clear to people in the past month that he would prefer to be coaching in 2022.
While North and GWS have the Clarkson market to themselves at present, curveballs to their negotiations could yet come in the form of a vacancy opening at Port Adelaide.
Power coach Ken Hinkley is contracted through to the end of 2023, but missing finals this season, his 10th at the club, is expected to result in deep conversations in coming days.