By Todd Whelan
Darley Premiership Coach Heath Scotland has parted ways with the club after three years at the helm to further his career in a development role with North Melbourne in the AFL.
The former Darley junior reunited with the Devils in 2017 as Playing Coach after 268 games with Collingwood and Carlton. The impact of Scotland’s return was immediate, taking the club to the promised land – a Premiership in his first season of a three-year contract. The Devils finished third and fifth (after finals) respectively in the subsequent years before Scotland pulled time on his position.
“I’ve loved my time at the club,” he said.
“It reaffirmed my opinion that Darley is a great club.
“It’s been a most rewarding time for me, I’ll be sad leaving.”
Darley Football Manager Craig Baker could not have spoken more highly of Scotland and his impact on the club upon his departure.
“In our 2017 Premiership year when Heath returned to the club, the excitement was through the roof,” he said.
“Pre-season numbers at training were at an all-time high, everyone just wanted to learn and play for him – even the older blokes,” Baker said.
According to Scotland, coaching the Devils in their 100th year (2019) ranks amongst his prouder moments in his distinguished career.
“It was an honour to lead the club in its Centenary,” he said.
While finding a new coach is now a priority for the Devils ahead of the 2020 season, Baker acknowledged the incumbent has big shoes to fill.
“Heath’s professionalism out of the AFL program was top notch,” he said.
“The development of our younger players has been a credit to him,”
Furthermore, Scotland is convinced the club is in good hands.
“Darley is a very well-run club with a strong ‘juniors’ base,” he said.
“Ultra-consistent and forever driving high standards.
“A fresh voice with new ideas just might help reinvigorate the hunger for success.”
The 39-year old is preparing for the next chapter in his football career joining former Collingwood team-mates Rhys Shaw and Gavin Brown at the Kangaroos.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Scotland said.
“I’ll be working with the 1-4 year players.
“Teaching young talent eager to learn is really exciting.”
The Devils Presentation Night on September 26 at the Bacchus Marsh Public Hall will be Scotland’s last official engagement.
Scotland in charge – ‘the rap sheet’
2017 – Premiers, 2018 – 3rd, 2019 – 5th
Total games: 55 – Won: 39 (70.9%) Loss: 16
Home games: 28 – Won: 24 (85.7%) Loss: 4
Away games: 27 – Won: 15 (55.5%) Loss: 12
Finals played: 7 – Won 5 (71.4%) Loss: 2