North Melbourne’s AFLW coach Scott Gowans won’t be offered a fresh contract with the club blaming coronavirus cost-cuts as the reason.
North’s Darren Crocker will take over as AFLW coach – he’s already on the club’s payroll as scout for the AFL side.
North’s general manager of football Brady Rawlings says Gowans has fallen victim to forced restructures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The discussion with Scott was one I truly wish we didn’t have to have but we’re operating under new rules with less flexibility,” Rawlings said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This circumstance has come about through no fault of his own … unfortunately for Scott and so many others across the industry, we and other clubs have been forced to make some very difficult and hard decisions.”
Crocker’s appointment was made with a need for people to fill multiple roles because of budget and other staff cuts.
“With football department numbers significantly reduced, we’ve had to look at those that can perform multiple tasks,” Rawlings said.
Crocker, a premiership player at North in 1996, has filled caretaker coach roles with the men’s team.
In June 2009 he took over as interim coach when Dean Laidley resigned, and remained at the club in following seasons as an assistant to Brad Scott.
In 2015, Crocker again took over in a caretaker capacity when Scott underwent back surgery. He also was head coach for one game in 2016 when Scott was sick.
“Darren has not only tasted premiership success as a player in 1996, he also knows what it takes to lead a team having been a caretaker coach in the AFL system on several occasions,” Rawlings said.
“We think Darren is the perfect fit and allows the club to adapt and move forward quickly under these trying circumstances and remain financially strong and competitive.”