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AFL: First-year watch

Queenslanders Josh Williams and Declan Watson have made strong starts to their first pre-seasons.

11:00am  Jan 24, 2017

Jack holds cards

Nick Dal Santo has backed North’s decision to appoint Jack Ziebell as captain.

2:35pm  Jan 23, 2017

Higgins, McDonald collision course

During match simulation on Friday morning Shaun Higgins and Luke McDonald came to blows.

3:06pm  Jan 20, 2017

Brad Scott – Senior Coach

After a 168-game career at Hawthorn and Brisbane, Brad Scott became the senior coach of North Melbourne at the end of the 2009 season, replacing Dean Laidley.

Scott served his coaching apprenticeship at Collingwood under Mick Malthouse as a development and assistant coach. At the time of his appointment with the Kangaroos he was also a candidate for the vacant role at Richmond.

Scott’s coaching career got off to a slow start with North losing three of the first four games under his tenure in 2010.

However after that the Kangaroos showed steady improvement and just missed out on the finals by percentage, winning 11 games.

2011, Scott’s second season, also started slowly with four defeats. There was a mid-season surge with four consecutive wins which propelled North back into finals contention. Ultimately it was two tight losses to Carlton and Hawthorn in Round 19 and 20 respectively which ended the charge.

Late in 2011 Scott was rewarded for North’s progress with a one-year contract extension. Due to come out of contract at the end of 2012, the new deal kept Scott at Arden Street until at least the end of 2013.

At the start of 2012 it looked like North had arrived. Scott had the Kangaroos playing a high-tempo, high-handball game style and with it came an impressive defeat of Geelong in Round 3.

Inconsistent performances following the game led to a 4-6 record heading into the mid-season bye. The turnaround following the break was be stunning, as 10 wins in 12 games led to the club’s first finals appearance since 2008.

North made further improvement in 2014, beating Essendon and Geelong on its way to a Preliminary Final.

The Roos replicated that feat in 2015, defeating Richmond and Sydney, before falling to West Coast in a Preliminary Final.

Scott extended his contract at the end of the 2015 season, committing to the club until the end of 2018.

Gavin Brown – Senior Development Coach

After a decade as either an assistant (Collingwood from 2002-2007, Carlton 2011-2013) or match day coach (Collingwood VFL 2008-2010), Brown made the switch to the development ranks when he arrived at Arden Street following the 2013 season.

“My real passion is not necessarily really working with those guys who have been there and done that,” Brown said after his appointment.

“What really excites me is watching young people develop and grow and live their dream and that’s what I’m passionate about now and really enjoy.”

Darren Crocker – Director of Coaching

Darren Crocker spent 14 years as a North Melbourne player, notching 165 games throughout an injury-interrupted career. Playing in almost any position on the ground, he was a valuable utility.

After retiring at the end of the 1998 season, Crocker started his coaching career at Port Melbourne in the VFL. He spent one year at the Borough as an assistant before moving to Richmond.

Crocker was also an assistant coach at the Tigers and spent four seasons at Punt Road. At the end of 2004 he returned to the Kangaroos.

Taking up a position as the midfield coach, Crocker held the position for 12 years, save for the second half of 2009 where he was the caretaker senior coach following the resignation of Dean Laidley, and in 2015 when he was again caretaker coach in Brad Scott's absence due to a back operation.

Crocker was appointed as North's Director of Coaching ahead of the 2016 season.

Coach's sponsor: John Aaron & Sam La Spina

Josh Drummond – Transition Coach

A former Lion, Josh Drummond came to Arden St at the end of 2012 as a development coach after injury forced his retirement. He made his debut for Brisbane in 2005 and managed 94 games in eight seasons, his disposal by foot a highlight.

Drummond closely worked with the club’s North Ballarat-affiliated players in 2013 and was a valuable resource to the likes of Ben Jacobs and Taylor Garner as they improved their games.

At the end of 2013, Drummond was appointed as the club's defensive coach.

After two successful years in the role, he was handed responsibility of the club's midfielders, alongside Jarred Moore, as transition coach.

Ben Dyer – Development Manager

Appointed at the end of 2013, Dyer arrived from Perth after coaching the Claremont Under 18’s to that season’s premiership.

Dyer was also a former recruiting assistant for North in Western Australia and spent time with the Brisbane Lions’ academy in 2011.

Brad Green – Defensive Coach

After playing over 250 games with Melbourne, Brad Green was highly sought after following his retirement in 2012.

Green was an assistant coach at Carlton for three seasons, before moving to North Melbourne at the end of the 2015 season as defensive coach.

David Loader – Development Coach

Appointed at the end of 2015, Loader arrived from North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup.

He spent nine years at the Rebels, the last five as head coach. Prior to that, he had coached in the Mininera Football League.

Loader works alongside Ben Dyer (development manager) and Gavin Brown (senior development coach).

Jarred Moore – Midfield/Stoppage Coach

Moore played 68 games for Sydney and was a member of its leadership group in his final season, 2012.

He arrived at North Melbourne soon after as a development coach, working closely with the club's emerging youngsters.

At the end of 2015, Moore moved into an assistant coaching role as a midfield/stoppages coach.

Leigh Tudor – Forwards Coach

Leigh Tudor joined North Melbourne at the end of 2013 as the midfield/transition coach.

After spending time at Sydney, St Kilda and Geelong, Tudor signed a three-year deal to return to Arden St, where he started his playing career in 1989.

Upon his appointment, Tudor was clearly looking forward to the role.

“I really loved my time at Sydney but it was time to come home for family reasons and I’m thrilled to be coming back to where it all started,” Tudor said.

“I respect the way North has gone about it over the past few seasons and they’re clearly on the rise so I can’t think of a better place to be, it’s exciting for sure.”

Tudor moved to forwards' coach at the end of 2015.