Heath Scotland has stepped down as Darley coach as he moves into the AFL coaching ranks.

Scotland will join North Melbourne next season as a development coach,  working with the first to fourth year players in the forward line.

The move to the Kangaroos in a full time role, means that Scotland will no longer coach the Devils, having been in charge for three years.

Scotland said he had always wanted to get back into the AFL coaching ranks at some point and was excited by the opportunity.

It was a former teammate and new Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw that got in touch and got the ball rolling.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said.

“I ready to get down and dirty and get some more coaching experience.

“I meet the coaching staff this morning and they are a close knit group. ”

Scotland said he leaves the Darley with a heavy heart, but would remain involved with the club even if it was just as a supporter.

He said the club had done more for him throughout his whole career, than what he had done for them.

“It’s a tough call,” he said.

“Of all the clubs I’ve been involved in, no club has been as good as Darley. The people involved there are first class.

“It’s sad to leave there. I’m being a little selfish taking my football experience to the next level.

“The club has supported me as a kid coming up as a player and coming out of the game.”

Scotland

Darley coach Heath Scotland

The move also ends Scotland’s playing career.

While he retired after the 2017 premiership, he has played the last two years, but has battled injury. He needs to have shoulder surgery.

“I’m 39 turning 40, it’s about time I pulled the pin,” he said.

“It puts a full stop to it and I can focus just on coaching.”

Scotland said one of the biggest highlights at the Devils was the 2017 season which saw the club win both seniors and reserves premierships, both against arch rival Bacchus Marsh.

He said it was disappointing to finish the way they did this season when they were knocked out in the first week of finals.

But he thought long term they were in a good position.

“It was a disappointing finish to this season and we’re still feeling it,” he said.

“The experience the kids have got the last few years has been really good.

“The kids have done well and will drive the club forward. There’s 10-12 17 to 19-year-olds who are the future of the club and can really set us up for a successful period.

“It’s just how much they want it.”