Brad Scott departed North Melbourne as he coached – no nonsense, straight talking, with a dash of raw emotion and winning against the odds.
Saturday’s 25-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium was Scott’s 211th match in charge of the Roos since 2010, the result leaving him with a record of 106 wins and 105 losses.
He also showed old back men never lose their touch when he seemed to feigned a hip and shoulder and some choice words for one of his fiercest critics, former North premiership player turned media commentator David King
King had recently opined in the Herald Sun that the club had lost direction and the coach needed to leave immediately.
And Scott didn’t leave his three-quarter time sledging on the field.
“I haven’t spoken to David King in years,” Scott told reporters after the match “I get frustrated sometimes when the cameras are too close to the huddle.
There was a time when I put my shoulder straight through David King – it was at the Gabba in the late 90s. And he didn’t respond then either.
“So I’m not about to start doing that again. I’m a coach, not a player.”
Scott denied he had spoken to King on the ground, and explained he doesn’t believe ex-players have “a unique insight” into their former clubs.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” he said, quickly adding that having once played for a club does not guarantee “unique insight”.
“With due respect, I haven’t seen any of those people at our football club ever,” he said.
“I invited David King to come down and present a jumper to a first-year player and he chose not to come.
“They don’t have any unique insight – they’ve played, but there isn’t a unique insight, so I focus more on the people who do know.”
That the cellar-dwelling Kangaroos were able to lift to notch a win over the Western Bulldogs says everything about how Scott has been viewed, for the most part, by his charges at Arden Street.
Scott refused to confirm his departure from the club on Saturday until he had spoken with all of his players. North Melbourne has called a press conference for midday Sunday.
By embracing every player and waving to the North cheer squad as he left the playing arena, the coach clearly signalled the end.
“The players were very emotional at times,” Scott said. “They were emotional during the breaks, but I thought my job today was to keep them focused on the task at hand, contest to contest, and they were just super today in all aspects.
“It was just more looking at them (after the game). I’ve coached Ben Cunnington from the day he walked into the football club, Jamie Macmillan the same.
“The older players like Robbie Tarrant, Scott Thompson, Jack Ziebell … we’ve been together this entire time, so they were emotional, which tends to set off a bit of a chain reaction.
“I pride myself on keeping it together and I think largely we did.”
The coach admitted he was disappointed his plan to mutually part ways with the club had become public as the speculation about his future gained momentum late on Friday.
Scott refused to answer questions about his future at his post-match press conference but he spoke at length about what the club has meant to him since he arrived in 2010.
“I love high performance and I love elite sport and I love lifelong learning, but above all of that it’s about mentoring, coaching, educating and, in a strange sort of way, fathering young men who become the people and the players they are,” he said.
“And I can’t tell you how satisfying that is. North Melbourne have given me an opportunity that very few people get.
“There is no doubt that there isn’t a person – I don’t care how good you are or what you’ve achieved in football – there isn’t a single person that (gives) more than the club gives to them.
“We are really fortunately to do what we do … every player gets more from the footy club than they are able to give.
“I can’t thank North Melbourne enough for what they’ve been able to do for me and what they’ve given me and I’ve loved every minute of it.”