North Melbourne legend Brent ‘Boomer’ Harvey has opted out of coaching in the AFL this season for family reasons.
The 45-year-old was delisted at the end of 2016 but, despite the bitterness over his forced retirement, immediately returned to the club in a development role.
He has been there ever since.
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Harvey, though, has reassessed his professional priorities after a massive year where he retired from playing local footy due to a horrific broken leg.
“Whilst we’re disappointed ‘Boomer’ won’t continue as a coach, we respect his decision to spend more time fully supporting and enjoying his children’s various sporting pursuits,” Kangaroos football boss Todd Viney said on Friday.
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The Harvey family’s year reached a new high in the months after his injury when son Cooper, 19, made his AFL debut, even receiving the selection news from his dad.
Harvey and wife Shayne’s three children — Cooper, Lacie and Hudson — are separated by seven years in age.
Beyond being around North games next year to support his son, Harvey will still be involved at Arden St in an off-field job created especially for him.
Brent Harvey (right) with wife Shayne, sons Hudson and Cooper, and daughter Lacie. Credit: Getty
Alongside an ambassadorial position, Harvey will be tasked with engaging other past players.
“Boomer is a much-loved person around the club,” Viney said.
“He is as passionate as they come about getting North Melbourne back where we belong, and he holds a special place in the hearts of our members and fans, so we are thrilled he has decided to remain involved.”
Harvey said he is “really excited” about the new role.
“Our past players know they are always welcome at games and at training or getting along to functions but they may be unsure about who to get in touch with to organise it,” he said in a club statement.
“I’ll be there as the contact point but I’ll also reach out proactively about upcoming events, anniversaries and even the father-son and daughter days.”
Harvey pointed to premiership player Winston Abraham’s return to a game this year as an experience to build on.
Harvey during his playing days with daughter Lacie and son Cooper. Credit: AAP
“We want all our past players — whether they played in a flag or not, if they played 200 games or they were on the list and never played a game — to know that this is your club and we want to stay connected with you,” the 426-gamer said.
“The benefits of that connection then flows onto the Luke Davies-Uniackes and (Nick) Larkeys and (Harry) Sheezels and (George) Wardlaws – this is an important place to so many people and you’re part of this special club.”
North Melbourne’s overhauled coaching panel for 2024 — featuring an ‘expanded’ development team — was announced alongside the news that Harvey had stepped away.
Senior coach Alastair Clarkson will be supported by Leigh Adams (midfield), Xavier Clarke (forward), Jed Adcock (backline) and Damian Monkhorst (part-time ruck coach).
Former Werribee VFL coach Michael Barlow is head of development, with Tom Lynch leading Kangaroo’s VFL team.
AFLW star Emma Kearney, Adam Marcon and Jarrod Lienert will serve as development coaches, the latter also their Indigenous player development manager.