Brad Scott’s Gone, What’s Next for North Melbourne?

A 115-90 win by North Melbourne over the Western Bulldogs wasn’t expected to be the talking point from the first half of the season. And yet, here we are. Brad Scott coached his final game for the Kangaroos on the weekend and announced in a press conference that his time with the club has come to an end. The club is moving on from the former Lion after 10 seasons at the helm, opting to part ways amicably and abruptly. Now that Scott’s tenure has come to an end the next few months will be telling for North Melbourne’s future. So where do they go from here?

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IT was nice to see Brad Scott bow out with a victory after his loyal service to the club that began back in 2010. He entered the Round 10 game against the Western Bulldogs with a 105-105 win-loss resume and the triumph on Saturday meant he’ll leave the club with a winning record. Scott departs North after coaching the 3rd most games in club history (211), leading them to a preliminary final in 2014. He’ll be hot property as jobs open upon before next season, with rumours already linking Scott to St Kilda and Carton.

NORTH Melbourne can’t afford to spend any time speculating over where Scott’s next job could be, they’ve got their work cut out trying to find a coach of their own. To end 2019 touted assistant Rhyce Shaw will coach out for the remaining 12 games of the season. Shaw is more than qualified to take over the reign’s chalking up some noteworthy accolades in his short coaching career to date. Following his 237 game career with Collingwood and Sydney, he stepped into a role coaching the Swans’ NEAFL team, leading them to consecutive minor premierships and earning the AFL Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year awards in 2017.

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TIME will tell what type of impact Rhyce Shaw has at North and he could take a grip on the full-time gig with an impressive end to the season. While Shaw could throw his hat in the ring, high up on North’s shopping list for a new head guru will be former club champion’s Adam Simpson and John Longmire. Simpson is one of five Roos to play 300+ games for the club and left as a favourite son to coach the Eagles at the start of the 2014 season. After leading them to a premiership last year and another Grand Final appearance in 2015, North faces an uphill battle trying to pry Simpson away from the West.

JOHN Longmire, however, might be up for grabs. Currently in his 9th season as Sydney’s head coach, the former premiership Kangaroo could be on the move as the Swans transition into a different era at the club. Longmire led Sydney to a flag in 2012 and played 200 games at North throughout the ’90s, potentially making him a front runner if he parted ways with his current team at the end of 2019. North Melbourne is expected to throw a ton of money around to land their new head coach and either of the two popular past players could be a viable candidate.

THERE are plenty of other contenders expected to be linked to the club over the next few months, with the Roos currently spoilt for choice. Veterans with previous head coaching experience like Brett Ratten and John Barker could interest the club, however, my prediction is they’ll chase a top rung assistant from a rival club. Snagging a hot name like Michael Voss (Port Adelaide), Brett Kirk (Sydney) or Scott Burns (Hawthorn) would be amongst the dream case scenarios for North Melbourne as they transition into the next chapter in the club’s history.

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REGARDLESS of who their next head coach will be, North has got to address their list issues if they want to achieve anything noteworthy in the future. Missing out on top-tier free agents over the past few offseasons saw them opt to pay lesser types including Aaron Hall, Jared Polec and Jasper Pittard this past offseason. While those type of players are important to add depth to a club’s list, missing on crucial draft picks is what has really hurt North Melbourne. Choosing players like Luke Davies-Uniacke, Oskar Junker, Cam Zurhaar, Declan Watson, Jy Simpkin and Will Walker over the past three seasons hasn’t paid off like the club would have hoped. They still may develop into decent contributors, however, none of the above selections has provided the bang that top-30 picks are supposed to.

GETTING more games into the youth on their list is a priority for North to close out the season, hopefully unearthing a star (or two) in the process. Whoever comes in to coach the team next year needs to be ready to build the Kangaroos from the ground up again, starting with this year’s draft. Making the investments in superstar talent could even lead to them attracting the big fish they’ve been trying to land as well. Either way, they can’t afford to keep dreaming that someone is coming to save the day. That ultimately could have cost Brad Scott his job. A mediocre chapter in their history has closed now that Scott’s packed up his office and the next 12-18 months will be telling as North tries to shape their team to succeed into the next decade and beyond.

Peace ✌

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