AFL's worst team mired in 'disturbing' coaching controversy

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Amid an awful start to his second AFL season in charge at North Melbourne, David Noble has again faced reports of a rift between himself and his players. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Amid an awful start to his second AFL season in charge at North Melbourne, David Noble has again faced reports of a rift between himself and his players. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Respected AFL reporter Caroline Wilson has outlined a 'disturbing' rift growing between North Melbourne coach David Noble and the players amid their disastrous 2022 season.

The Kangaroos have just one win from their first 10 games this season as the club embarks on year two of a rebuild under Noble, and have come under significant pressure as the side has so far failed to show much improvement on their 4-17 campaign last year.

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Noble apologised to his players earlier this year after a fiery spray reportedly left some within the playing group feeling he had gone too. far.

It seems those issues may not have been completely put to bed, with Wilson reporting on Footy Classified that the coach-player relationships at North were continuing to spiral.

Wilson said players were beginning to become 'disenchanted' with Noble's style, suggesting the second-year coach had some ways to go before mending those relationships.

“The stories coming out of the club about the relationship between the coach and the players are disturbing,” Wilson said.

“It was disturbing last week when news leaked to the Herald Sun about the spray after the Brisbane loss that David Noble had given his players, so bad that he apologised.

“I think that’s a problem when players are talking about that stuff. I’m hearing more and more about players just being disenchanted with the coach … with his temper on occasions.

“We hear reports about David getting very, very frustrated during some performances. The coaches are sort of ‘we’, the players are ‘they’, some of the language you’re hearing about."

Wilson then likened Noble's situation to that of ex-Carlton coach David Teague, whose own rebuilding efforts failed to launch.

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Former AFL player Kane Cornes had a touch more sympathy for Noble, saying that regardless of his coaching efforts, he didn't have the list to compete.

Though the Kangaroos have been linked to several free agency moves in recent years, few of their big moves have paid off.

They recruited Jaidyn Stephenson from Collingwood after their salary cap crunch forced him out, however they have had little success in the draft.

“I’ve got some sympathy for David Noble because I don’t think he’s got the list that he needs,” Cornes said

“This isn’t a coaching issue; this is a list issue.

“I’d love to ask the question: what’s one positive list management move they have made in the last three years?”

North Melbourne impressed in the first half against the Demons, but the reigning premiers proved too much to handle. (Photo by Mike Owen/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
North Melbourne impressed in the first half against the Demons, but the reigning premiers proved too much to handle. (Photo by Mike Owen/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

After five weeks of uncompetitive performances that shone the spotlight on coach David Noble, North fought hard until the Demons' weight of numbers - 74 inside-50s to 34 - eventually won out for a 47-point win.

"Our fans can really see what we're trying to do, it wasn't just about Melbourne," Noble said.

"I thought there was a lot to like about our team (in this game)...I think now for a good five or six weeks we've been training really hard and it's now translating.

"The understanding of where we're at is fight and I thought they did that really well."

Melbourne will host Fremantle in a top-four showdown at the MCG next Saturday, while the Kangaroos will be back at Docklands to face St Kilda on Sunday.

With AAP

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