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Roos boss grilled over concussion

Facing questions: North Melbourne football boss Donald McDonald.

Facing questions: North Melbourne football boss Donald McDonald.

NORTH Melbourne football boss Donald McDonald has been forced to defend himself against allegations he influenced the testimony of his player Lachlan Hansen during the AFL's concussion investigations.

McDonald was summoned again by the league's investigators on Thursday and interrogated with the understanding he might have coerced or coached Hansen before the player related his version of events to AFL investigators Brett Clothier and Abraham Haddad.

Hansen left the field during North's match in August against Essendon and, according to one report, thought one person alongside him on the interchange bench was his father. North has denied this, but McDonald's role in the investigation has been of some frustration to the AFL.

Hansen's evidence, too, came with inconsistencies and the league remains unimpressed with not only the club's initial laissez-faire response to the suggestion it fielded a concussed player, but also with serious inconsistencies in its evidence.

Those inconsistencies began from the time Drew Petrie told the AFL he had given the wrong information during a radio interview regarding Hansen's condition. The AFL told North interim chief executive Cameron Vale last Monday that the club must fully explain its failure to fully co-operate with the inquiry.

North Melbourne doctor Andy McMahon and physical performance boss Steve Saunders have also been called before the investigation, which has created some bad blood between the Kangaroos and head office. McDonald certainly appears to have incurred the wrath of the AFL.

Whether the league brings down sanctions on the club will be known in the coming days, with the AFL determined to complete the concussion investigation within a week.

Haddad and Clothier, who work under football boss Adrian Anderson, charged with preserving the game's integrity, remain embroiled in the Melbourne tanking investigation and that involving Adelaide's secret contract with Kurt Tippett.

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