Northern Bullants senior coach Josh Fraser has departed the club to join Collingwood for the 2022 season as the Magpies' Head of Academy.

Fraser left the Magpies at the end of the 2010 season in a move to the Gold Coast Suns, where he played two seasons before calling time on his 218-game career.

Following a coaching stint leading the Suns' reserves side in the NEAFL, the 39-year-old joined Carlton as a development coach in 2016 and took over the role of senior coach of their then-affiliate side Northern Blues.

Carlton announced they would be cutting ties with the Northern Blues in 2020, becoming a standalone club and parting ways with Fraser as a result of the decision.

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Fraser took on the role as senior coach with the Bullants as part of the new-look VFL competition for 2021, with Crows great Ben Hart joining the coaching ranks at Preston City Oval.

Now Fraser will return to Collingwood to aid the development of the Magpies' young list, joining Craig McRae coaching brigade.

“It’s a thrill to be back,” Fraser said on the announcement.

“Obviously, a part of me has always been remained with Collingwood. So, returning is exciting. But the professional challenge is what I’m most excited about.

“To help build and mould a new squad under the guidance of Craig McRae and the team is a wonderful opportunity.”

In a message to Bullants members and supporters, Fraser bid farewell to a club that will always remain close to his heart. 

"Preston City Oval is a special place. When I reflect on the journey we have been through to reestablish the club as a standalone entity from the ground up it gives me enormous pride. Throughout all the challenges thrown our way we embraced and adapted together as a football club and did things The Preston Way with every effort and intention of keeping this famous club alive," the letter reads.

"I’d like to acknowledge and thank the board for their tireless work over the past 12 months along with many other fantastic people who have made significant contributions to the Bullants VFL return.

"The Bullants are about the people. Coaches, medical, high performance, and volunteers have made this club special.

"I have so much admiration and respect for our players. Their love for the club, jumper and each other was evident in the way they played. They played with unconditional Ants Spirit and I am a better coach for having been involved with this group.

"I would like to congratulate and wish Ben Hart every success as the new senior coach. The club has appointed a fantastic coach and person who is the perfect fit to take the club forward.

"Lastly to the larger Bullants family. Our corporate partners, members, fans, past players and northern community more broadly, thank you. The club would not exist without all of you.

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"I will now look on as a supporter of this famous club with pride. I look forward to seeing you all at PCO in season 2022."

Fraser will join the likes of Justin Leppitsch and Brendon Bolton in linking up with McRae at the Holden Centre for 2022.

The Bullants have announced that Hart has been named as Fraser's successor for the role of senior coach.