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.
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.
"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.