AFL 2024: Alastair Clarkson speaks about mediation talks with Hawthorn premiership player Cyril Rioli

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Alastair Clarkson says he’s grateful he had the chance for a “really productive” mediation with former Hawthorn players including Cyril Rioli which remains incomplete after the two-day talks in Melbourne this week.

The North Melbourne coach said the conciliation sessions, which were also attended by Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, had been “productive” but he was unable to discuss details due to a confidentiality agreement.

Clarkson and Fagan came face-to-face with the players for the first time since they were accused of historic racist behaviour 18 months ago.

The two coaches have categorically denied the claims made by the players.

He thanked the Human Rights Commission for holding the talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in a bid to avoid the case moving to Federal Court.

“Could I start this by expressing my gratitude to the Human Rights Commission for providing the platform for us to all get together and try to resolve a dispute that’s been ongoing for the past 18 months,” Clarkson said on Thursday.

“The last two days have represented the first chance that we’ve had to sit down together and do what you should always do in trying to resolve difficult situations, and that’s talk about it.

“That was really productive and a worthwhile two days, but the process is actually incomplete and until such time that it is over, then we’re bound by confidentiality to not discuss anything about the proceedings at all.”

Clarkson and Fagan were both unable to take training sessions while attending the talks, but the Kangaroos coach said he had quickly readjusted to the task at hand when his side faces Carlton in the Good Friday Superclash.

“It’s amazing how you compartmentalise and get things done – it was a really important step to take, and as I said we’re really grateful that the Human Rights Commission provided that platform for us,” Clarkson said.

“I appreciate all the questioning about it, but I also respect that we’re not at liberty to discuss anything about it.”

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