Clarkson slams AFL's assistance packages to Suns

Linda Higginson/AAP PHOTOS

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has lit the fuse for an explosive clash with Gold Coast after slamming the AFL's assistance packages to the expansion club.

The Kangaroos will claim a third-straight wooden spoon - the first club to achieve the unwanted feat since Sydney from 1992-94 - if they don't upset the Suns in Hobart on Saturday.

Clarkson swatted away talk of the AFL introducing a lottery system for the draft instead of the bottom-placed team automatically being awarded the No.1 pick.

West Coast appeared destined to collect just the second wooden spoon in the club's proud's history after sitting in 18th and last until recording a famous upset of the Western Bulldogs last Sunday.

The stunning result put North back on the bottom, with the Kangaroos having won just 11 of 83 games since the start of the 2020 season.

"The bottom line is North Melbourne are where they are because they've been the most poorly performed team in the competition for the last four years," Clarkson said on Thursday.

"There'd be just as many critics to say the lottery system isn't fair either.

"The league put in place some some things several years ago for the Gold Coast Suns to actually equalise and give them a better opportunity, including getting Darwin as a zone and included academy access to their players.

"It's just accepted that Gold Coast have got three picks in the top-10 this year and it's like 'oh well, that's OK'.

"The team on the bottom for the last four years isn't given any assistance at all and we're decrying this, 'should there be a lottery system'.

"Bottom line is the team that finishes on the bottom of the ladder should probably get the benefit of the best young talent in the land."

Clarkson refuted talk North would seek to tank the match against the Suns to ensure they ended up with the No.1 draft pick.

The Kangaroos could also end up with a priority pick if key defender Ben McKay, as expected, chooses to leave during free agency at the end of the season.

"We're putting the best team out there that we can," Clarkson said.

"We've got 22 players on the field, and the sub, they're hell-bent and they're competitive beasts and they want to win.

"I know that there's a nice nice prize out there, supposedly.

"Go tell that to West Coast last week, it didn't bother them.

"We've tried to win all games that we've played to date and we've only won two of them. We're not going to be laying down on the weekend."

Clarkson said the Kangaroos would ideally like to hang on to McKay.

"If we don't feel like we get the compensation necessary for him then we'll be fighting for him to stay, we want him to stay," he said.

"Let me know if there's a six-foot five, six-foot six fullback, centre-half-back that's in the draft to replace him, and there ain't.

"What I do know, historically, is that if blokes haven't signed by now, that's usually a fair indication that they're probably going to move on."