North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has stepped away from the game for an indefinite period as he deals with the ongoing impact of an investigation in to historical allegations of racism.
Clarkson returned to coaching at the Kangaroos this season and after a bright start the Kangaroos have battled in recent weeks.
He has also been dealing with ongoing delays in to allegations of racism from a group of First Nations players during his time as coach at Hawthorn.
Clarkson has maintained his innocence but last week blasted the Hawks and the process for failing to give him a right of reply more than eight months after the allegations were first made.
North Melbourne President Dr Sonja Hood said there was no timeline on when Clarkson would return with assistant Brett Ratten to take over as interim coach.
“The club is providing its full support to Alastair and we commend him for making this important decision to put his health first,” Hood said in a statement.
“Everyone involved has been deeply affected by the Hawthorn investigation and the burden on Alastair has been significant.
“We will give Alastair whatever time he needs to restore his health and look forward to welcoming him back when he is fully fit.
“We have strong leaders at our club who will step up and support and coach our team while Alastair spends time focusing on his health.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Brett Ratten’s experience and capability to coach the team in the interim.”
Clarkson has grown increasingly frustrated with the Hawthorn racism investigation and last week blasted his former club for its handling of the scandal.
The four-time premiership coach said he had been denied a chance to present his version of events to the investigators over the previous eight months, and that Hawthorn should be investigated for its handling of the issue.