EXPERIENCED assistant coach John Blakey is departing Sydney after 14 seasons at the club. 

Blakey, a former champion of North Melbourne and Fitzroy, is returning to Melbourne, having accepted a position with the Kangaroos, where he played 224 of his 359 AFL games.  

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Blakey is the father of young star Nick who went through Sydney's Academy and chose not to join North Melbourne as a father-son. But Nick's future at the Swans is sure to be put in the spotlight in coming years.

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North Melbourne has axed six assistant coaches, including senior assistant Jade Rawlings.

During his time with the Swans, Blakey was a forward and defensive line coach, and had a three-year stint as the head of development. 

Sydney coach John Longmire said Blakey would be missed. 

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"After giving 14 years of service to the club, we understand John's desire the be closer to family," Longmire said. 

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"John has been a wonderful contributor to our club, both on and off the field. His work ethic, team-first attitude, and ability to foster strong relationships have made him highly regarded and respected by everyone at the club.

 Blakey is a life member of Sydney, and Longmire said his experience and tactical nous enabled him to get the best out of players.