BRAD Scott's almost decade-long tenure as North Melbourne coach seems set to end as soon as Saturday, with a mutual parting of ways in the works.
With that in mind, which coaches are in the mix to replace Scott as the Kangaroos' next long-term man in charge, after a caretaker steers them through the rest of 2019?
AFL.com.au takes a look at the candidates.
Scott Burns (Hawthorn)
Has long had the tag of senior coach-in-waiting, and was most recently in the running for the Gold Coast job that went to Stuart Dew and also included John Barker. Was in the mix for the job Adam Simpson won at West Coast, too. Spent five years at the Eagles and four at Collingwood, where he was the Pies' midfield coach and one of Nathan Buckley's closest confidantes, before linking up with the Hawks and Alastair Clarkson last season.
Burns and Buckley in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos
Matthew Nicks (Greater Western Sydney)
One of the inaugural Level 4 coaching intake, he is Giants coach Leon Cameron's right-hand man in 2019 after eight years at Port Adelaide. Earned a reputation at Alberton as a straight shooter who was equally adept at forming strong relationships with the playing group. His range of experiences there – good, bad and challenging – are viewed as a positive for him, along with his willingness to move to a new club.
John Barker (Carlton)
Was a close second to Stuart Dew to be the Gold Coast coach, was also runner-up to Chris Fagan at Brisbane, and made Carlton's and Adelaide's shortlist for jobs that went to Brendon Bolton and Don Pyke, respectively. It remains to be seen if Barker's best opportunity has come and gone, but his experience and the fact the Blues assistant has been so close previously suggests he'd be in the running again if he's keen.
Brett Kirk (Sydney)
Regarded as a future senior coach. Kirk, who was in the previous Level 4 coaching batch, played 241 games for Sydney, including the 2005 premiership, and excels as a coach in the way he uses his people skills and intelligence to develop players as individuals and competitors. A source pointed to Malcolm Blight as an example of how "different kinds of people can be successful" as senior coaches.
Kirk with Kieren Jack. Picture: AFL Photos
Steven King (Western Bulldogs)
The darkhorse. King's first season at the Kennel was 2012, after he spent a year as St Kilda's ruck and midfield coach. His first five seasons at the Dogs were spent with the midfielders, before he switched to the backline in 2017. Industry sources believe King would make a good senior coach "in the right set of circumstances" and that he has "enormous potential". Started the Level 4 coaching course last year.
King is the darkhorse for the Kangaroos role. Picture: AFL Photos
John Longmire (Sydney)
Booted 511 goals for the Roos and was part of the 1999 premiership, so the nostalgia of a Longmire return to Arden Street is immense. But would he leave Sydney, where he coached the Swans to their most recent flag in 2012? Sydney is rebuilding after making the finals in 15 of the past 16 seasons, but still sits a win ahead of North Melbourne this year.
Brett Ratten (St Kilda)
The Ratten name is a constant on these types of lists. The former Carlton coach is already earning plaudits for the work he's done since joining the Saints, after departing the Hawks at the end of last season. Ratten was at Hawthorn for its 2013-15 flag three-peat and put together a solid record in charge of the Blues (59 wins, one draw, 56 losses) that hasn't been forgotten.
Could Ratten juggle the job at North Melbourne? Picture: AFL Photos
Adam Kingsley (Richmond)
Blake Caracella (Richmond)
Ben Rutten (Essendon)
Jade Rawlings (Melbourne)
Justin Longmuir (Collingwood)
Dean Solomon (Gold Coast)
Rhyce Shaw (North Melbourne)
Josh Drummond (Gold Coast)
Craig Jennings (Melbourne)
Daniel Giansiracusa (Western Bulldogs)
|2008||Brisbane||Leigh Matthews||End of season||Stepped down||Michael Voss|
|2009||North Melbourne||Dean Laidley||During season||Sacked after four wins, eight losses for season||Darren Crocker (interim)|
|Richmond||Terry Wallace||During season||Sacked after 37 wins, 60 losses, two draws||Jade Rawlings (interim)|
|2010||Essendon||Matthew Knights||End of season||Sacked after 25 wins, 41 losses, one draw||James Hird|
|Geelong||Mark Thompson||End of season||Stepped down||Chris Scott|
|Port Adelaide||Mark Williams||During season||Sacked with a 5-10 record in 2010 after missing finals in 2008-09||Matthew Primus|
|Sydney||Paul Roos||End of season||Pre-planned hand over to John Longmire||John Longmire|
|2011||Adelaide||Neil Craig||During season||Sacked after four wins, 12 losses for season||Mark Bickley (interim)|
|Collingwood||Mick Malthouse||End of season||Pre-planned handover to Nathan Buckley||Nathan Buckley|
|Fremantle||Mark Harvey||End of season||Sacked after missing finals with nine wins, 13 losses for season||Ross Lyon|
|Melbourne||Dean Bailey||During season||Sacked after 22 wins, 59 losses, 2 draws||Todd Viney (interim)|
|St Kilda||Ross Lyon||End of season||Resigned, joined Fremantle as senior coach||Scott Watters|
|Western Bulldogs||Rodney Eade||During season||Sacked after 7 wins, 12 losses for season||Paul Williams (interim)|
|2012||Carlton||Brett Ratten||End of season||Sacked after missing finals in 2012||Mick Malthouse|
|Port Adelaide||Matthew Primus||During season||Sacked after 5 wins, 13 losses for season||Garry Hocking (interim)|
|2013||Brisbane||Michael Voss||During season||8 wins, 11 losses for season||Mark Harvey (interim)|
|Essendon||James Hird||During season||Suspended by AFL with one game remaining in season||Simon Goodwin (interim)|
|Melbourne||Mark Neeld||During season||Sacked after 5 wins, 23 losses||Neil Craig (interim)|
|St Kilda||Scott Watters||End of season||Sacked after 17 wins, 27 losses, no finals||Alan Richardson|
|West Coast||John Worsfold||End of season||Stepped down||Adam Simpson|
|2014||Adelaide||Brenton Sanderson||End of season||Sacked after missing finals in 2013-14||Phil Walsh|
|Essendon||Mark Thompson||End of season||Replaced by James Hird returning from suspension||James Hird|
|Gold Coast||Guy McKenna||End of season||Sacked after 24 wins, 64 losses, no finals||Rodney Eade|
|Western Bulldogs||Brendan McCartney||End of season||Sacked after 20 wins, 46 losses||Luke Beveridge|
|2015||Carlton||Mick Malthouse||During season||Sacked after 1 win, 7 losses for season||John Barker (interim)|
|Essendon||James Hird||During season||Resigned after 5 wins, 14 losses for season||Matthew Egan (interim)|
|2016||Brisbane||Justin Leppitsch||End of season||Sacked after 14 wins, 52 losses||Chris Fagan|
|Melbourne||Paul Roos||End of season||Pre-planned handover to Simon Goodwin||Simon Goodwin|
|2017||Gold Coast||Rodney Eade||During season||Stepped down after board voted not to renew contract||Stuart Dew|