While changes to a playing group or coaching staff can happen over the course of just a few weeks, the process of implementing a new game plan takes far, far longer.

North Melbourne has shown plenty of signs on progress this year, whether it be the first half performances against Adelaide and Melbourne, or that glorious win over Hawthorn in Round 9.

There have been plenty of tough learning experiences too, with the Round 3 loss to the Western Bulldogs still being used as a prime example of the need and opportunity for growth and development.

One of a raft of new coaches in 2021, forwards coach Heath Younie says the North coaching group is refusing to budge on what they believe to be the right, long-term plan.

“We’re still developing our game style as we go week to week … the coaching group was really, really clear on how we want to have our game style look in 12-18 months-time,” Younie said during the latest Member Q&A, presented by AIA.

“Rather than be dictated by what’s happening week-to-week, we want to be really clear on how we’re going to coach these guys.

“We’ve really honed in on how we want our game style to look and as a result we’re seeing some improvements … we’ve got to remind our players to continually work on what they do, because ultimately the game gives you feedback on what you’re not good at.”


With the development of the group often taking centre stage, it’s important to remember that North is still running out every week with the goal of winning games of football.

Younie says once you get to a certain point, however, winning and development go hand in hand, and that’s the next stage for this young North group.

“What we’re here to do is win games of footy, irrespective of where or what phase of development we’re in,” he said.

“More importantly, I think, is for them to build belief in what we’re trying to do … ultimately the win builds belief in your game style.

“They’ve got a taste of it now and they believe what we’re trying to do. We’ll add different layers to that and … hopefully we’ll get reward for that with more wins in the second half of the year.”

To hear Younie discuss development coaching, simplifying footy and the formulation of North’s game plan, check out the full Members Q&A below.

52:38 Mins
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Member Q & A: The coaches (June 8, 2021)

North Melbourne's coaching group sits down to answer the members' questions.

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