The first of the AFL coaching dominoes has fallen with Brad Scott to leave North Melbourne.
Scott’s last game in charge could be on Saturday against the Western Bulldogs, especially given his departure is now public.
It is a mutual decision by Scott and North, with the two parties keen for him to leave Arden St on good terms.
Scott is said to have initiated the discussion with the board several weeks ago.
The feeling is that the Kangaroos are further away from returning to power than they would like and after nearly a decade in the role, Scott’s time has come.
While there was no official word from North on Friday night, the only uncertainty about Scott’s departure now is when it will happen.
Scott, who is contracted until the end of next season, took over at North in 2010 and it was his first senior coaching appointment.
It is highly unlikely he will be the only senior coaching change this year, with Brendon Bolton under persistent pressure at last-placed Carlton.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson also started the season with an uncertain future, amid wholesale changes to their football operations, and there is speculation about how long John Worsfold will continue at Essendon.
North last made the finals three years ago and after narrowly missing the top eight in 2018, they are well off the pace.
They are second-last in 2019 with only two wins from nine games.
The Kangaroos made the finals four times under Scott, including successive preliminary finals losses in 2014 and 2015.
Apart from Scott’s departure, North will also review their football department.
First-year assistant coach Rhyce Shaw could take over as caretaker for the rest of the season, while Darren Crocker filled that role in 2009 after Dean Laidley left.
News of Scott’s impending departure broke on Friday night, hours after he had spoken in his weekly media conference.
“I can’t shed any light on that … I think that speculation is fair, and media have got a job to do,” Scott said about his future.
“But the only thing I will say about that is that my focus is on what’s best for our club and that hasn’t changed.
What’s best for North right at the moment is the next 24 hours and the Bulldogs.
“The bigger picture is probably for another stage, rather than a day before a game.”
While often a vocal critic of the Kangaroos’ current plight, on Friday night their two-time premiership captain Wayne Carey praised Scott.
“He’s been very forthright in saying that if it’s not right for the footy club, then they’ll part ways,” Carey told Channel Seven.
Carey also nominated assistant coach Leigh Tudor to take over in the caretaker role, saying he deserved the opportunity.
DEPARTING NORTH MELBOURNE COACH BRAD SCOTT
* DOB: 3/5/76
* Played 168 games at Hawthorn, Brisbane 1997-2006
* Two-time Lions premiership player
* Started coaching North Melbourne in 2010
* Coached North in 210 games, 105 wins
* 2014-15 preliminary finals, plus top elimination finals in 2012 and ’16