North Melbourne had John Longmire in its sights – and not for the first time.
It was 2019, and Brad Scott had stood down as the Kangaroos’ coach after almost 10 years in the job.
They were on the lookout for a new senior coach, so who better than 1999 premiership player and club great Longmire, who had gone on to become one of the AFL’s best coaches at Sydney?
North asked about Longmire before it appointed Scott but the Swans already had him earmarked as Paul Roos’ successor, although the Kangaroos’ approach arguably accelerated that process.
The problem this time was Longmire was under contract until the end of the next season – but that didn’t stop then-North chief executive Ben Buckley from inquiring about his availability.
Buckley’s first call was to Liam Pickering, Longmire’s agent, former teammate, close friend and best man at his wedding to childhood sweetheart,…