North Melbourne have swooped on Werribee senior coach and former Fremantle and Gold Coast player Michael Barlow ahead of the 2024 season.
Alongside the former Docker and Sun, the Roos will also welcome ex-Lion and Bulldog Jed Adcock to their coaching fraternity
Despite being contracted for the 2024 season, the Tigers confirmed Barlow's departure on Monday evening, with Barlow departing after three years with the VFL club.
North Melbourne announced the duo's signing on Tuesday evening, with North's GM of footy Todd Viney claiming both Barlow and Adcock would play key roles with the club's young group.
“We are excited to welcome both Michael and Jed to Arden Street,” Viney said in a statement out of Arden Street.
“Michael has really impressed the football community with what he's been able to do since taking over the reins at Werribee, particularly this season which saw his side reach a Grand Final.
“With an unconventional pathway to playing at the highest level, Michael will offer a unique perspective to our players, as well as an understanding of the challenges that football can bring.
“Meanwhile, Jed has been a stalwart of the Brisbane Lions over a long period of time and has played a part in their recent on-field success as an assistant coach. He's been a loyal servant of the Lions, so we are really pleased that he sees his next opportunity with us.”
Under Barlow, Werribee amassed a return to the grand final stage this year off the back of a 17-game winning run that began in April, with Barlow named coach of the competition's Team of the Year.
Four players from Werribee were named in that side, including long-serving star Tom Gribble, 2023 Norm Goss Medal winner Shaun Mannagh, captain Nick Coughlan and midfielder Dom Brew.
While the grand final loss to Gold Coast ended the club's season on a sour note, Barlow expressed how proud he was of the team and thanked Werribee for the opportunity.
"The grand final loss still stings but this playing group gave everything they had and will be better for the experience," Barlow said in a club statement.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed this stint at Avalon Airport Oval and thank the club for giving me the opportunity. It is a special club with an outstanding administration, great facilities and a culture committed to excellence on and off the field."
Barlow took on the senior coaching role at Werribee following Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams' move to Melbourne.
His switch to the Kangaroos will see the 35-year-old link up with champion coach Alastair Clarkson in a development role as he continues in his coaching journey.
"The entire club is delighted for Mick but also disappointed to lose one of our favourite sons (again) to the AFL," Werribee President Martin Carter said.
"Interestingly, our last two senior coaches have been headhunted by AFL clubs, which says a lot about the status of our club and our senior coaching position.
"We are proud to have played a part in Mick's football journey firstly as a player when he was drafted to Fremantle and now as his AFL coaching career begins."
Barlow played a total of 141 games over a nine-year career in the AFL after joining Fremantle in 2009 as a mature-aged recruit out of Werribee. He would win the AFLPA Best First-Year Player Award the following year.
North Melbourne have already confirmed the departures of development coach Gavin Brown and assistants Brett Ratten and John Blakey, while Xavier Clarke joined the Arden Street crew from Richmond last week.