K rock Football

Roo warned on behaviour

North Melbourne midfielder Tarryn Thomas. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

TARRYN Thomas has had a stark public warning from North Melbourne that his AFL career will end quickly if he fails to change his behaviour.

The utility returned to Arden St on Monday after nearly a month away, with Thomas to face court again on March 2 over allegations he breached a court order.

While football manager Todd Viney insisted that the club was encouraged by Thomas’ progress of late, he made it clear that the player was on thin ice and must continue improving his off-field behaviour.

North had said on February 1 that Thomas was taking time away from the club over what they alleged were “serious and confronting” threats of violence towards women.

“We’re trying to help a 22-year-old become a man. Speaking for myself, at 22, I didn’t really know what life was about,” Viney said.

“Tarryn is a young guy who has made lot of mistakes – taking ownership, learning about what he can do to get better, and that’s where we’re at.

“In this environment, you behave yourself into an AFL program and behave yourself out of an AFL program. Continue to display the wrong habits, and you find your way out of the industry.”

Viney said there was no timeframe on when Thomas might be available for selection, adding that “it’s going to be hard” for the player to regain his teammates’ trust.

“We certainly don’t condone any of that type of behaviour,” he said.

“But we’re happy with his attitude and his accountability to some of the things we’ve asked him to address.

“There’s no excuses, there’s no blaming – there’s accountability for his role in the language he’s used.”

He said Thomas had spoken to his teammates on Monday.

Viney added that Thomas’ court dramas had created a lot of tension around the club “for all the wrong reasons”.

Coach Alastair Clarkson also has been in hot water, with the revelation that he personally apologised to a female reporter for the way he spoke to her on February 1, when the Thomas story had media descending on Arden St.

Viney said the Thomas and Clarkson situations were “apples and oranges” but revealed the coach had been spoken to about his notoriously hot temper.

“He’s certainly very strong-willed. You don’t do what he’s done in footy without being strong-willed,” Viney said.

“Part of my role as GM of footy is to control that, make sure he’s not a ‘bulldozer’, in his words.

“Ninety-nine per cent of what Clarko does is first-class. We all have our strengths, and we then have our weaknesses.

“We’ve spoken about how he needs to tighten up … stay cool, calm and collected when the heat’s on.

“We expect that from our players, and we expect it of our coaches.”

(C) AAP 2022