North Melbourne senior coach Rhyce Shaw will step away indefinitely from football duties and may not return as senior coach, the club has revealed in a statement today.
The 38-year-old coach, who had just completed his first full season in charge of the Kangaroos, asked the club for some time away due to personal reasons. The request was granted, but the club has since accepted that his circumstances may prevent him from returning to the club in the same position.
North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley said the club was “aware of speculation” regarding Shaw, but had elected not to respond until today to “respect the wishes of Rhyce and his family.”
“Rhyce has asked for some time and space away from football and we have provided him support during this period.
“In the meantime, we will forge ahead. From a board perspective, our decision-making centres around one ambition: how we can build a team and a football program that will win our fifth flag.”
Shaw joined North Melbourne as an assistant coach in 2019, following three years as an assistant with the Sydney Swans. After Brad Scott stood down from the role midway through the year, Shaw was given the caretaker role, before being promoted to the role full-time.
Despite starting 2020 with two straight wins, the wheels fell off quickly for the Roos as they won just one of their remaining 15 matches. The disastrous season led to an unprecedented cleanout, with six assistant coaches departing, 11 players being delisted and both Ben Brown and Shaun Higgins being put up for trade.
The club has already brought Sydney assistant and former premiership player John Blakey across, while rumours also claim the club has been trying to coax Paul Roos out of retirement for a second time. Former Brisbane coach and current Port Adelaide assistant Michael Voss is also allegedly on the club’s radar.