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Giants elevate Walsh to replace suspended coach McVeigh

Nick Walsh will take on more responsibility at the Giants this season
We looked at a range of options to cover Mark for this season and we believe that Nick Walsh stepping into this role is the best option
Leon Cameron

GREATER Western Sydney has replaced banned assistant coach Mark McVeigh by elevating Nick Walsh to oversee the club's backline for the 2016 season.

Walsh steps up from his development position with the club's NEAFL team and will be supported by former Collingwood premiership captain Nick Maxwell.

Maxwell has been working with the club's leaders but the former Magpies backman will now also advise Walsh in a specialist defensive role working one-on-one with Phil Davis, Joel Patfull and Heath Shaw among others.

The changes come in the wake of McVeigh being suspended – along with 33 former Essendon teammates – for doping offences by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.

McVeigh has been barred from coaching until November and the Giants are working with the 34-year-old to find opportunities to support him until he is allowed to resume with the club.

Walsh, who was an international rookie at Melbourne in 2002 and '03, joined the Giants in 2011 and the Irishman has impressed senior coach Leon Cameron.

"We looked at a range of options to cover Mark for this season and we believe that Nick Walsh stepping into this role is the best option," Cameron said.

"Nick is a very impressive young coach with good knowledge of the game and has fantastic relationships with both the playing group and coaching staff.

"As a club we are obviously right behind Mark and his family and we look forward to Mark returning as an assistant coach overseeing our backline ahead of the 2017 season."

Walsh described the circumstances that led to his elevation as "unfortunate", but he said he's excited about the opportunity to work with the Giants' backline.

"With the support and input from people like Nick Maxwell, Leon Cameron, our NEAFL coach Brad Miller and experienced players like Heath Shaw, Joel Patfull and Phil Davis leading the young group, I believe the backline is well positioned for the year ahead," he said.

Maxwell, who retired in 2014 after 208 games for the Pies, will combine his leadership work at the Giants and NRL club Melbourne Storm with his new coaching responsibilities.

"It's a unique set of circumstances for everyone involved and this outcome provides maximum stability for the playing and coaching group," Maxwell said.

"I’m looking forward to taking on more responsibility at the club with this specialist support role, while still continuing my existing leadership roles at the Giants and Melbourne Storm, as well as my media commitments."

GWS has finalised its senior coaching structure for the coming season, but is now looking to fill Walsh's development role with the NEAFL team.