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Flag frustration drives North’s sweeping changes

“Some of the changes were organic and some happened as the year evolved. They happened naturally as the year unfolded.

“I don’t think we had necessarily had any specific expectations about the level of change but with a new coach and a new football manager ultimately there was going to be change and significant change. Change comes with having a fresh group of leaders.

“Ultimately where we have ended up, I am not surprised.”

Buckley said the club review of the football department this year was a product of frustration at a prolonged period without ultimate success.

“We have not played in a grand final since 1999 and not won a premiership since 1999 while we have had some moderate success in between we are an ambitious club,” Buckley said.

“From time to time you review what you are doing and look at other ways to do things. We have made significant changes. We have a fresh new group of leaders with a new energy and optimism.”

Rather than being concerned by the inexperience in their roles of the new appointments Buckley thought it was helpful.

“I am not troubled by it. I think when you put a group of new leaders together and ones that may not have done the job previously they often are not constrained by previous thinking,” Buckley said.

“Each one of those people has been part of very successful systems and organisations: Rhyce Shaw came from the Sydney Swans, who are in the top handful of clubs in the last 15 years; Brady Rawlings came out of the West Coast system; and Ben (Amarfio) has an incredible depth of organisation and commercial skills.”

He praised the work of former coach Brad Scott, Cameron Joyce as GM of football and Carl Dilena as chief executive but he felt there was a need for renewal and change in order to take the next step.

Amarfio was a surprise appointment as there had been indications the club was seeking a chief executive with a stronger football pedigree. Amarfio had worked at AFL House in broadcasting and was at Cricket Australia for six years.

“We looked at a number of different factors that go into making a successful CEO and you have got to have a strong commercial knowledge and strong understanding of the industry and how the landscape works and Ben has that,” Buckley said.

“We are in as strong a financial state as we have been for some years. We have made regular profits.  Carl and his team have done an excellent job in building a solid base.”

Buckley would not comment on the possibility of further appointments in football to add an experienced figure as a mentor to Shaw, Rawlings and Luff.

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