Brad Scott was a fearless and tough footballer. He reminded me a little of Glenn Archer, in that he attacked each contest at 100 miles per hour and always put the team first and himself second. He was an integral part of Brisbane's first two premierships and went on to play 168 games of football.
After retiring from football, he went on to become Collingwood's development coach, working closely with Dale Thomas, Scott Pendlebury and a number of other Collingwood youngsters. He quickly attracted interest from Richmond for their vacant senior coaching role, before accepting a three-year contract offer from North Melbourne in 2010. He had a slow start to his coaching career, losing his second game in charge by 104 points to St. Kilda. He made slow and steady progress throughout the year to get the team just outside the eight on percentage. His second season in charge was similar, starting slow and then finishing well to miss the finals by a game.
In 2012, he led the team to his first finals campaign, which included a very strong finish to the season, winning ten of its last 12 games, after getting an 115 point shellacking from Hawthorn in round 10, in the now famous Lance Franklin 13 goal game. The team had a terrible final, losing to West Coast by 96 points.
2013 was a season of what could have been, with the team blowing numerous big leads late in games to choke away any chance of playing finals, finishing tenth and missing finals three out of his four seasons in charge.
Scotts best season came in 2014, winning 14 games and two finals, with a sixth-placed finish and a preliminary final appearance against the Sydney Swans. He followed that up in 2015 with another preliminary finals appearance after finishing eighth. It was the first team to make a preliminary final from eighth position since the competition introduced an eight-team finals series.
The 2016 season started so brightly for Brad Scott and North Melbourne winning their first nine games, before injury and poor form from senior players curtailed their season They went on to win only three more games for the rest of the year and got knocked out in the first week of the finals against the Adelaide Crows. The club also decided to delist veterans Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito, Drew Petrie and Nick Dal Santo, with Harvey's axeing being the most controversial.
With only three wins from his last 18 games as coach, you would think Brad Scott would be under more scrutiny from the media and public than he currently is. Strangely enough, it seems that his job is safe for at least the short term. Often controversial and outspoken, Scott has had a tough pre-season, missing most of it with the untimely passing of his younger brother Ben.
Into his eighth season now, this is by far his biggest challenge. Not only does he have to rebuild the list but he has to remain competitive doing it. He decided to move on veterans last year knowing that the premiership window had closed and the club decided to back him in to start the rebuild again. His overall record is 85-76, which is a winning percentage of 53. It ranks ninth amongst the coaches and is below Ken Hinkley and just above Nathan Buckley.
He represents the club well to the media and opens it up to the press, giving them the sort of access that most clubs would never dream to offer. The membership last year hit record levels, breaking the 40,000 mark for the first time in the club's history and is just below that figure this year. Also, the players seem to be playing for him, playing shinboner spirit football and giving it everything they have, even though they probably lack the quality.
His recruiting has been questionable over the recent years but has bought some success as well. Nick Dal Santo came to the club at age 30, Jarred Waite at 31, and Shaun Higgins was signed to a lucrative contract after struggling to find consistency at the Western Bulldogs for most of his career. All those players played a big part in each of the clubs successful finals campaigns and Higgins has become a consistent player.
Scott's most significant tests are going to come up against teams that are not expected to compete in finals action. Maybe the pressure has been off the players in the first four weeks of the season, going into games massive underdogs and being competitive in all games so far. The test will be the next two weeks against Fremantle and Gold Coast. Two more losses would put Scott under immense pressure. A win is needed to make sure the club is going in the right direction.