AFL News

Shaw steps away at Roos

Shaw steps away at Roos

NORTH Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw has been granted an extended period of leave from the AFL club and there’s no guarantees he will return.

After weeks of speculation, North Melbourne has confirmed that Shaw will be given time off to deal with personal issues.

“We have been acutely aware of speculation regarding our head coach, but we have not been in a position to say anything as we are respecting the wishes of Rhyce and his family,” North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley said.

“Rhyce has asked for some time and space away from football and we have provided him support during this period.”

The Kangaroos only narrowly avoided the wooden spoon this year after winning just three of their 17 games in Shaw’s first full year in charge.

Before North Melbourne’s final-round fixture against West Coast, Shaw spoke about the challenges he had confronted in his first full year as head coach.

“It’s been a really tough journey. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what I need to do and how I need to approach certain situations,” Shaw said at the time.

“It (the season) has been a disappointment, and it’s not one that I envisaged at the start of the year.

“It’s been a tough one on everyone. It’s been tough for my family.

“My wife Leah has done a fantastic job in supporting our two boys through this time and uplifting their lives to come and support me.

“It’s been really amazing.”

Shaw was appointed as caretaker coach last year when Brad Scott stepped down.

The 39-year-old Shaw ended up winning seven of his 12 games in charge last season to win the full-time role on a three-year deal.

But the Kangaroos have been concerned about Shaw’s health since the 2020 season ended and will give him as much time as he needs.

No date has been set for Shaw to return and it’s been reported that North are in the process of making contingency plans in case Shaw can’t return to the senior role.

The Kangaroos are expected to spend the next few years mired near the bottom of the table after embarking on a radical list clean-out that has already seen 11 players delisted.

Stars such as Ben Brown, Shaun Higgins and Jared Polec could also join the exodus.

Six assistant coaches have been shown the door.

Buckley penned a wide-ranging letter to the club’s fans on Friday in a bid to allay their fears about the future of the club.

He said the Kangaroos were expecting to post another small surplus this year, making it nine years in a row.

Buckley hopes the club’s debt, which hit a peak of $9 million at the end of 2011, will be eliminated by the end of 2021.

(C) AAP 2020