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North Melbourne has decided not to renew the contract of AFLW coach Scott Gowans for the 2021 season. Gowans was also the coach for North Melbourne’s VFLW team.

Darren Crocker will become the new senior coach for the Kangaroos’ women’s team, while remaining in his role as a Pro Scout for the men’s team.

The Kangaroos were seen as one of the favourites to win the 2020 AFLW premiership before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19 and no premiers were name.

“The discussion with Scott was one I truly wish we didn’t have to have, but we’re operating under new rules with less flexibility,” North Melbourne football boss Brady Rawlings told nmfc.com.au.

“Scott has been a tremendous contributor to the club and our AFLW program. This circumstance has come about through no fault of his own and we sincerely thank him for his passion, commitment and hard during his time at Arden St.

“Unfortunately for Scott and so many others across the industry, we and other clubs have been forced to make some very difficult and hard decisions.”

Crocker had served as interim senior coach at AFL level. He will combine his role as Pro Scout with his new women’s coaching role.The move to have people fill multiple roles is a cost saving measure.

“With football department numbers significantly reduced, we’ve had to look at those that can perform multiple tasks and Darren Crocker is one of those with decades of experience and knowledge,” Rawlings said.

“Darren has not only tasted premiership success as a player in 1996, he also knows what it takes to lead a team having been a caretaker coach in the AFL system on several occasions.

“We think Darren is the perfect fit and allows the club to adapt and move forward quickly under these trying circumstances, and remain financially strong and competitive.”

Crocker will begin his role as senior coach when the AFLW team returns for pre-season training later this year.