Sport

Brad doing it tough

North Melbourne AFL coach Brad Scott.
North Melbourne AFL coach Brad Scott. Getty Images

IF you watch TV you probably would've seen the Bupa ad - 'What would you do if you met a healthier version of yourself?'

If you've got the internet you might've come across an image that plays up the campaign featuring North Melbourne coach Brad Scott meeting a 'healthier version' of himself - his twin, Geelong coach Chris Scott.

Poor Brad. He had to do it tougher than his brother when it came to his playing career, toiling away in the VFL while Chris, older by three minutes, made an instant impact in the AFL as the Rising Star winner in his debut season (1994).

Brad was eventually recruited by Hawthorn later that year, but would be delisted and re-drafted by the Hawks in 1996, before finally cracking a senior game in 1997.

Of course, he would end up alongside Chris at the Lions, after being traded by the Hawks, to form a fearsome defensive tag team, and playing in the 2001 and 2002 premierships.

Once their on-field careers were over, Brad finally got one up by winning a senior coaching role first, at North in 2010, while his brother remained an assistant at Fremantle.

Chris though was appointed coach at Geelong a year later and guided it to a premiership in his first season - while Brad guided the Kangaroos to a second straight ninth-place finish.

With a rebuilding period imminent, Chris could coach the Cats for the next decade without winning another flag.

Brad won't look beyond this year, his side so far failing miserably to live up to the high expectations set when it won a shoot-out, ironically, against Chris' reigning premiers in round 3.

With its abundance of young talent finally beginning to transform promise into performance, the win was expected to catapult North back into a force.

Instead it has lost five of its next seven, the most recent a 115-point annihilation at the hands of Hawthorn - the club's 10th biggest defeat of all-time and third 100-point loss under Brad.

The Kangaroos have no major injuries to use an excuse either. North has simply stalled. The careers of highly-rated draft picks Lachlan Hansen (2006), Robbie Tarrant (2007), Jack Ziebell (2008), Ben Cunnington and Ryan Bastinac (2009) and Shaun Atley (2010) have stalled.

While his brother has a healthy 80% winning strike rate, Brad's is 46% and dropping as his team goes backwards.

The sharks circle coaches quickly in footy. Thankfully for Brad, his boys have Gold Coast after this week's bye.

 

Should North head south?

For all North's struggles on the field, they pale into comparison with those it faces off it.

The administration looks in disarray with chief executive Eugene Arocca doing a runner and chairman James Brayshaw now in the firing line.

But what will be harder to find than a new CEO, or new chairman, is the millions of dollars it needs to cover its constant debt.

North has already got a toe in the water in Tasmania - via a $1.8-million-a-year deal with the government that will see them play two home games each season there - but a time may come a time when it is forced to dive in all the way.

The AFL though wants the Kangaroos to live on as they are - if you call drowning in the overcrowded Melbourne market living.

Firstly, 18 teams equates to nine games per week and maximum TV revenue, and while the AFL dangled a $100 million carrot in front of North to relocate to the Gold Coast in 2007, there won't be any similar incentive to shift to Tasmania.

The AFL sees the Apple Isle as too big a risk - with its small population and doubts over its ability to generate the almighty dollar - and is satisfied the state is getting its fill through the few crumbs Hawthorn and now North throws it each year.

But, Tasmania, which has produced some of the greatest footballers - Ian Stewart, Peter Hudson, Royce Hart, Darrel Baldock, Alastair Lynch and Matthew Richardson - deserves more than the two games hosted by North in Hobart and four by Hawthorn in Launceston.

It grated on the locals they were denied their own AFL club while the league pushed into Queensland and NSW for a second time. Mars confectionary even stated in 2008 it was prepared to throw in millions in sponsorship if a Tassie bid was successful.

If the offer's still there, the Kangaroos could go from boiled lollies to chocolates.

 

A TEAM OF TASMANIANS

Last week's Brisbane Lions three-goal hero Josh Green is one of a number of Tasmanians currently on AFL lists. Here is prospective Tassie State of Origin line-up.

F: Aaron Joseph, Tom Mohr, Nathan Grima

HB: Grant Birchall, Colin Garland, Justin Sherman

C: Luke Russell, Sam Lonergan, Ryan Harwood

HF: Ian Callinan, Liam Jones Brad Green

F: Jeremy Howe, Jack Riewoldt, Todd Banfield

Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Mitch Robinson, Sam Iles

Int: (from) Josh Green, Aaron Cornelius, Aaron Hall, Maverick Weller, Angus Graham, Marcus Davies, Jeremy Webberley, Brodie Moles

Topics:  afl north melbourne kangaroos



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