In the days after Scott’s departure, the topic of whether North should move on senior players who had trade currency became a public talking point. However star midfielder Ben Cunnington signed a three-year contract extension in late June, while Shaw said on Thursday that he wanted to retain ruckman Todd Goldstein, an unrestricted free agent, who has been courted by St Kilda.
Several player agents contacted by The Age on Thursday, including some who manage current North players and free agents at other clubs, said that the certainty that stemmed from Shaw’s appointment was a sizeable development for North in the player market.
“[It’s] huge. Now you know who’s fronting and leading the club,” one manager said.
North became the first of the three clubs looking for new senior coaches (Carlton and St Kilda being the others) to make an appointment.
There was also a consensus that Shaw’s appointment was particularly important given the instability at North. Football department chief Cameron Joyce is on the way out, with replacement Brady Rawlings not due to start until December after being poached from West Coast.
List manager Michael McMahon has continued to deal with player contracts in recent months, but there is a widespread industry view that he is on shaky ground.
Buckley said that findings from a review of the club’s football department, a probe which also extends to other parts of the organisation, is due within a couple of months.
Shaw said that his focus had been on North’s week-to-week performance and hadn’t given much thought to list management as of yet.
“I deal with the now, I deal with the week-to-week,” Shaw said.
“I know that now that I’m the senior coach we’ll be looking to next year, and ‘are we going to do this, are we going to do that?’ [but] I’m really concentrating on this week.”
He said he was keen to keep Goldstein, who turned 31 last month.
“Todd’s been a fantastic contributor to our football club and from my perspective he’s a great player, and someone we would love to have going forward, but that’s not for me to say. I haven’t spoken to Brady yet,” Shaw said.
Dilena was bullish about North’s prospects in the coming seasons.
“We see ourselves with the ability to be super-competitve going forward, and we’ve shown that this year,” Dilena said.
“I also think we need to supplement what we’ve got at the moment to take the next step, because when you get up against the top teams in the competition, we’re probably just lacking a little bit there.
“But we don’t think it’s a massive gap. I think we’ve got a really good core group at the moment, and think if you see this year, with some of the youngsters that have stepped up as well, they’re starting to hit their straps as young players.
“I see it as … striving for getting back up the ladder as soon we can.”
Daniel is an Age sports reporter