ESSENDON champion Mark Harvey's 22-year stint in the AFL coaches' box will end after the Bombers' clash with Melbourne on Saturday.

After time at Essendon, Brisbane and Fremantle – where he was senior coach for four years – Harvey will transition into a dual off-field position.

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His time will be split across commercial stakeholder management with a focus on Bombers coterie groups, and a football role between pro scouting and opposition analysis.

Harvey has been in discussions with Bombers chief executive Xavier Campbell for at least 12 months about the switch which has started to be actioned in recent weeks.

Across the past month, Harvey has all but handed the reins as Bombers' stoppages coach to backline coach James Kelly.

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It has prompted senior coach-in-waiting Ben Rutten to assume full responsibility of the defence vacated by Kelly. 

"At my age and where he (Campbell) sees me at with the football club, at 55 and one of the oldest coaches still in a football department, I made comment to him and said 12 months ago about what it might look for me," Harvey told

"It's a bit more of the coterie side of things, with a little bit of football department input around that area, (to provide) some expertise and what I've learnt over the last 20-odd years.

"Having a look at things like list development and a little bit of pro scouting.

"As a coach you study the opposition, you keep an eye on all of the players and it gives you a good understanding.

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"When you're a senior coach, which I've also done, you're heavily involved in list management, so I've got an indication on how all that works."

Harvey first joined the Bombers as a part-time assistant coach alongside Kevin Sheedy in 1998 after his decorated playing career, including three flags, ended in 1997.

A fresh-faced Mark Harvey in his time as a Baby Bomber. Picture: AFL Photos

After splitting his time working on his business around mobile phones, Harvey became full-time in 1999 before the 2000 premiership.  

"They'd been through a lot in 1999, there was a fair bit of devastation being put out of the preliminary final," he said.

"To see the group get back on deck and forge towards the 2000 season, it was unbelievable. Those friendships are ongoing, and I'm just pleased to have been part of it."

He points to relationships fostered with Bombers superstar Matthew Lloyd and Fremantle's Aaron Sandilands as other career highlights.

Mark Harvey in charge at Fremantle. Picture: AFL Photos

With Harvey's move coinciding with John Worsfold's tenure ending, the Bombers are expected to make several changes to their coaching panel for next season.

Former Gold Coast assistant coach Dean Solomon, who was explored as an option by the Bombers ahead of this season, has been linked again for 2021.

He was made redundant by the Suns earlier this year despite having two years to run on his contract and is weighing whether he returns to football or continues investing time in the gym he recently opened in northern NSW.

Out-of-contract Sydney forwards coach Steve Johnson is another who has been linked to the Bombers.

The former mercurial Geelong forward has a relationship from his time at the Cats with current Bombers assistant Blake Caracella and was previously managed by Bombers head of football Dan Richardson.

Key Bombers staffer Luke Ball, who was in charge of the club's VFL program, has also lost his position at the club for next season. 

Mark Harvey on ...

Matthew Lloyd – He's probably one of the first players who really zoned in on what he had to do if he wanted to become a key forward. He was incredibly driven. Working with him on the opposition and his opponent, his leading patterns and what he'd want to do, that was always fascinating. And then his temperament… he evolved, and he had some real presence as a key forward.

Matthew Lloyd was a formidable forward. Picture: AFL Photos

Dean Solomon – Just a fantastic story, as a kid from Broken Hill. I wouldn't say he was the most disciplined player coming through, but he moulded himself into a player who would do anything the coach would ask him to do. The opposition would always know Dean Solomon was around.

Dean Solomon never gave an inch. Picture: AFL Photos

Lance Franklin – You had to work with a couple of players to be able to control him. To try and cut-out his space and influence on games was a big ask.

Michael Barlow – He was the smartest player (I've coached). I couldn't believe when we got a hold of him at the age of 22, he'd been knocked back many times. To talk to him about football and the way he thinks about the game was quite fascinating. Unfortunately he had the serious injuries he had, but his thought process was really, really strong.  

1984-1997 – Essendon player, including three flags
1998-2005 – Essendon assistant coach
2006-2007 – Fremantle assistant coach
2007-2011 – Fremantle senior coach
2012-2013 – Brisbane assistant coach
2015-2020 – Essendon assistant coach