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Scotland to North

Heath Scotland will re-enter the AFL system after accepting a role to join North Melbourne as a development coach.

A former teammate of head coach Rhyce Shaw at Collingwood, Scotland has been running his own business and coaching in various leagues including the Ballarat Football League, with his home club, Darley, and the Eastern Football League with Doncaster.

"I always had ambitions to coach at the highest level, and this opportunity to join North was too good to pass up," Scotland told North Media.

Scotland was recruited to the Magpies with pick 44 in 1998 and went on to play in two Grand Finals, before requesting a trade to Carlton at the end of 2003.

A member of the Blues' leadership group from 2007 to 2010, Scotland made the All-Australian squad in 2011 and won the club's best and fairest award in 2012.

He retired mid-way through the 2014 season with 268 games under his belt, but stayed with the club as a back-line coach with the Northern Blues in the VFL, and later formed part of the coaching panel with Vic Country for the National Championships.

"After I finished up at Carlton, Brett Ratten urged me to get out of the AFL system to get some coaching experience of my own," Scotland explained.

"I took his advice and completed various coaching courses, and have spent the past five years gaining some valuable experience with my own sides. 

"Over the past 12 months in particular, I've felt the time is right to come back to the AFL and was considering some options when the phone rang and 'Shawry' was on the line."

Scotland will work with the Roos' first-to-four-year players.

"Being able to help the young guys come through is something I'm really passionate about and being able to do that with someone like Gavin Brown is really exciting.

"Gav is a legend of the game and I was lucky enough to be at Collingwood with him before he retired, and then he came across to Carlton as an assistant coach in my final year."

While working with some former teammates is a bonus, ultimately Scotland's decision was based around North Melbourne's exciting list and future.

"From the outside, it's easy to see the huge impact Shawry's had on the club in being able to turn things around this year," Scotland commented.

"North has such an exciting, talented group coming through and I wanted to be a part of that. 

"Although the opportunity came up pretty quickly, I didn't hesitate to take it."