Jonathan Brown loses job in mass clean out

Footy legend Jonathan Brown has been cut as part of an extraordinary mass clean out under Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson.

The footy legend will reportedly not continue in his part-time position with the football club after being “secretly” recruited to take up a role as North Melbourne’s part-time forwards specialist coach.

Veteran footy journalist Caroline Wilson on Monday night reported Brown, Josh Gibson and other members of the coaching staff will be let go.

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It comes after the club announced on Monday assistant coach John Blakey and senior development coach Gavin Brown have both departed.

The club’s coaching department is in a spin after it was last week announced Brett Ratten had also walked out on the club.

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Ratten coached 10 games during the 2023 season while Alastair Clarkson took indefinite leave from his job as a result of private health concerns.

In recent years the coach has parted ways with a string of senior coaches, including Rhyce Shaw and David Noble.

After a disastrous 2022 season where the club won just two games, North Melbourne also sacked football boss Dan McPherson and assistant coaches Heath Younie and Anthony Rocca.

Now the upheaval is continuing with Wilson reporting Clarkson is making mass changes.

Jonathan Brown is one of the most highly-sought after figures in football. Picture: Mark Stewart.

“Those two (Gavin Brown and Blakey) will be replaced,” Wilson said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“I think they’ve gone off the part-timers as well. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Josh Gibson, who has been doing some part-time defence work, Johnathan Brown was doing some part-time forwards work.

“Alastair Clarkson has just gone, ‘Enough of the part-timers’.”

She said club legend Brent Harvey will also be moved from the club’s coaching department into a different role with the club.

It comes after concerns were raised about Clarkson’s mega-deal with the Kangaroos with reports the five-year contract is worth more than $1 million per-season.

With the AFL’s football department soft cap limited to $6.95 million in 2023 there were fears raised last year the club would have to make cuts as a result of the club’s recruitment of Clarkson and general manager of football Todd Viney.

Wilson said on Monday Clarkson has taken a “small pay cut” to give the club some extra room in the cap.

The times they are a changing. Picture: Linda Higginson.

She said the club was not able to afford to keep Ratten on its books with the former St Kilda head coach reportedly wanting a full-time “director of coaching” role.

Meanwhile, Brown will be a free agent on the AFL coaching scene after his surprise decision to return to club-land while juggling his jobs in breakfast radio and as an expert analyst on Fox Footy.

Brown earlier this year quit his Nova breakfast show.

His departure is a surprising twist after Clarkson reportedly persistently chased him with a job offer.

Brown, who played 256 games for the Lions from 2000 to 2014, initially said he was not getting paid by the club to work alongside forwards coach Leigh Adams.

“I’m doing it out of loving it. I’ll just turn up and just every now and again I just turn up and give a bit of confidence the young lads,” he said.

Brown revealed it took a lot of persuasion from Clarkson to get him to enter the world of coaching at the elite level.

“Well, to be honest… he just annoys the s*** out of me,” Brown said.

“Eventually you just give in.

“I’ll just come in and just pass a bit of advice on to the lads and just give them a bit of confidence,” Brown said.

“I’m not working in football. I’m just giving a bit of advice.”

He admitted he had been trying to keep the situation secret.

Meanwhile, Viney on Monday said Blakey and Gavin Brown are leaving the club as “highly respected individuals”.

“After conversations with ‘Blakes’ and ‘Browny’, we have agreed to mutually part ways,” Viney said.

“These decisions are never taken lightly, but the time is right for all parties to move forward in new directions.

“Blakes and Browny have been outstanding contributors to our club and they leave as highly respected individuals. We wish them well as they look to take on new opportunities within the industry.”

Ratten last week also spoke fondly of his time at the club.

Alastair Clarkson and Brett Ratten. Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images.

“Stepping in as interim coach gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to senior coaching which is something I’m grateful for,” he said.

“In terms of what the future looks like, I’m not sure yet. I love the game and I’m certainly open to new opportunities.”

Ratten said earlier this year he did not have any interest in coaching the club in the long-term and put his support behind Clarkson to be the coach that guides the football club into the future.

The veteran coach first moved to North Melbourne after his shock termination as coach of St Kilda at the end of the 2022 season.

While he was hired to serve as a part-time assistant coaching role, Ratten was given the top job from Round 10 when Clarkson stepped away.

Ratten said in June he viewed his caretaker position as his final crack in a senior coaching role — having been sacked by the Saints and Carlton.

He described his sacking at St Kilda as being “cut off at the knees” as the club made the cold-blooded decision to replace him with Ross Lyon.

North Melbourne heads into the 2023 AFL trade period as on of the biggest players, despite giving up the No. 1 draft pick with a win over Gold Coast in the final round of the season.

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