ESSENDON assistant coach Mark Neeld has resigned from the club after the Bombers' underwhelming start to the year.
The former Melbourne coach has worked closely alongside John Worsfold as the Bombers' game performance coach devising their game plan and strategy.
The Bombers were in discussions with Neeld over a potential restructure of the coaching department and he tendered his resignation. His role will not be replaced.
Essendon confirmed the departure on Monday.
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"This was a decision Mark has been reflecting on for some weeks, and following discussions regarding the potential restructure of the coaching department, Mark felt it was the right time to step aside and explore a new chapter in his career," football manager Dan Richardson said.
"This is an opportunity for John and the performance coaches to create greater clarity and alignment in the brand of football we want to play.
“We also believe this is an opportunity for our coaches to develop, be more empowered in their roles, and have greater input into the strategic direction of the team."
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Questions have been raised about the Bombers' playing style after their 2-6 beginning to the season, particularly after their loss to the previously winless Carlton on Saturday.
Neeld was an assistant coach at Collingwood between 2008-11 before two years as a senior coach at Melbourne. In between departing the Demons and joining Essendon, Neeld was the talent manager at TAC Cup club Eastern Ranges.
The 46-year-old was Worsfold's right-hand man in the coaches' box, with former Adelaide assistant Rob Harding – who holds the title of game intelligence and opposition strategy coach – also heavily involved in building the Bombers' plans.
Neeld looks set to move away from the football industry after his exit from Essendon.
"After discussions with the club, including the potential restructure of the coaching group, I felt now was the right time to move on,” Neeld said.
"I feel this decision is in the best interests of the club, and for myself and my family.
"I'm currently completing my Masters of Business Administration, and will look at pursuing a career pathway in management."
Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell confirmed the club would look at reshuffling the coaching structure around Worsfold in the wake of Neeld's departure.
"I guess it does present some opportunities for us to readjust some of the work we're doing from a coaching perspective and the structure around our coaching. Ultimately to best position and best support John as senior coach of the football club," he said.
Worsfold signed a two-year contract extension in March that ties him to the club until the end of 2020.