Kangaroos complete AFL coaching panel

North Melbourne have completed a new-look AFL coaching panel under David Noble with the acquisition of Jordan Russell to oversee their midfield group.

Russell was appointed coach of the Western Bulldogs’ VFL program in October, but informed the club this week he would leave for the Kangaroos after seven years in various playing and coaching roles.

The 34-year-old joins former Adelaide assistant Heath Younie as new arrivals at Arden Street since Noble took on the vacant head coach role in November.

It completes two months of significant change in the Kangaroos’ football department.

Assistants Jarred Moore and Jade Rawlings – the brother of North football boss Brady Rawlings – were axed as part of a coaching restructure in October.

Development coach Heath Scotland, head of football performance Jason Lappin, part-time ruck coach Will Minson and Next Generation Academy coach Michael Firrito were also let go amid league-enforced cost-cutting.

John Blakey returned to North from Sydney as senior assistant before head coach Rhyce Shaw stood down for personal reasons after just one full season in charge.

The Kangaroos have retained Gavin Brown, Brent Harvey and Leigh Adams as assistants to Noble, with former Sydney and Melbourne coach Paul Roos to mentor the coaching group as part of a wider role at the Kangaroos.

Russell, a former Carlton and Collingwood player, transitioned into coaching through the Footscray VFL program after retiring from the AFL in 2013.

He was an on-field leader and premiership player in the VFL before becoming a full-time Bulldogs development coach and then assistant coach at AFL level.

“Jordan has numerous years’ experience in a range of roles, which is really attractive to us,” Brady Rawlings said.

“His strong character along with his experience from a playing and coaching perspective will be invaluable in helping us build on our talented list.

“He is a natural leader and he will be a great asset to our coaching group.”

Russell was one of the staff members stood down by the Bulldogs during the 2020 season as AFL clubs were forced to slash budgets during the coronavirus pandemic.

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