MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Coach Matthew Knights of the Bombers runs of the field during the round 12 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)

Essendon great Tim Watson has suggested Matthew Knights could be the man to lead North Melbourne into the future.

Kangaroos senior coach Rhyce Shaw is on extended leave from the club for personal reasons, with the 39-year-old “almost certain” not to be coaching North next year.

Watson proposed Knights as a potential replacement, insisting that the club must go for experience this time around.

Knights was Essendon’s senior coach from 2008-2010, and has been an assistant with the Cats since 2015.

“They (North Melbourne) are not going to go with a rookie coach again, so they’re going to go for somebody who’s had experience,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.

“I’ll throw one up for you … this guy has been around, and he’s had a great football experience at a really successful club.

“Matty Knights got a job at Essendon as a really young coach replacing Kevin Sheedy, which was always going to be an enormous task for anyone.

“He didn’t have the success, stayed in football, has worked at Geelong as their VFL coach then worked his way up onto the staff, he has now been around a really, really good organisation and he’s a really smart football person.

“If North Melbourne go searching for a coach, I would suggest that they would need to talk to somebody like that, who has seen football from all sides.

“You’re always going to be better second time around.”