Roos icon’s brutal ‘drug money’ swipe at Essendon over Clarkson snub

Former North Melbourne powerbroker Ron Joseph has dished out a brutal sledge on Essendon, following the Kangaroos’ signing of Alastair Clarkson as senior coach.

According Joseph, who was involved with the Kangaroos during Clarkson’s time as a player, and credited as a major reason for the four-time premiership coach’s decision to return, made reference of the Bombers’ infamous supplements scandal, saying Clarkson would have been paid in ‘drug money’ had he signed with them.

“Essendon never frightened me. I never thought Clarko would follow the drug money to Tullamarine,” Joseph told News Corp.

The 77-year old also described the Bombers’ Tullamarine facilities as a ‘spiritless, windswept hole’, and noted that coaching Essendon would be ‘about as spiritless’ as taking the vacant GWS job, a role Clarkson also considered.

“Why would you want Kevin Sheedy looking over your shoulder at that spiritless, windswept hole they abandoned the iconic Windy Hill for?” Joseph said on the Dons’ facilities, known as The Hangar.

“I could never see him going to the Giants where he’d have to pack his bags and move to Greater Western Sydney – that’s about as spiritless as Essendon.”

>> READ: Pinching Clarko wouldn’t have fixed the problem breaking the Bombers

The Bombers entered the race for the four-time premiership coach during a tumultuous week, but Clarkson opted to return to Arden Street, where he played 93 games between 1987 and 1995.

Joseph believes the master coach is the perfect man to reverse the fortunes of his struggling club, which sits last on the AFL ladder with just two wins for the season.

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“He knows the North Melbourne people and the North Melbourne people know him. The whole thing just makes so much sense,” Joseph said of Clarkson.

“North supporters have seen the steady disintegration of their club over the last decade and a half and today they will all be relieved. We are on the move again.

“The club just needs a shake-up and Alastair Clarkson is the man to do it.”

Alastair Clarkson poses for a photo.

Alastair Clarkson poses for a photo after being announced as North Melbourne coach. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Joseph’s extraordinary comments will only inflame tensions between the Roos and Bombers, which had already been running high due to the battle for Clarkson’s signature.

Former Bombers coach and current board member Kevin Sheedy fuelled the flames earlier in the week, with a sly reference to the oft-mooted relocation to Tasmania often used to disparage the Kangaroos.

“I think Clarkson could be perfect moving into North Melbourne, I wouldn’t be surprised, take ‘em down to Tasmania,” Sheedy said on FIVEaa radio on Tuesday.

“You don’t know what’s in other people’s thinking, do you?

“He’s been locked into Tasmania with the state government, and because everyone wants North Melbourne to move because we’ve got too many teams here … too many teams in Melbourne, most people in Australia think that we do, so you just never know if Alastair says I’m looking a bit bigger picture than just going to coach a team in Melbourne.

“It could even involve Tasmania, you just don’t know.”

Clarkson is contracted to the Roos until the end of 2027.

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Meanwhile, the Bombers board will meet on Sunday to determine current coach Ben Rutten’s future, with former coach and club legend James Hird reportedly in the mix for a shock return.

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