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Scott Burns signs on as senior assistant as Crows cull continues

Football

A Hawthorn assistant who has twice been linked with the top coaching role at the Adelaide Football Club has been appointed the Crows’ new defensive mentor.

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Former Magpies captain Scott Burns, who has had assistant coaching stints at West Coast, Collingwood and the Hawks, was today unveiled as Matthew Nicks’ new senior assistant.

He will mentor Adelaide’s defenders, a responsibility recently held by Brent Reilly, who was sidelined yesterday in a Crows coaching shakeup that also saw fellow assistants Ben Hart and Mick Godden depart.

It came as the Crows continued to turn over their playing list, with the club confirming the contracts of Riley Knight, Patrick Wilson and Ayce Taylor would not be renewed for 2021.

Knight, who was selected with pick 46 in the 2013 AFL Draft, was a member of the Crows’ 2017 Grand Final team and managed 55 games in a career at times hampered by injury.

Wilson managed two senior games in three years despite starring at SANFL level, while Taylor did not play a senior game after being signed in this year’s pre-season supplemental selection period.

The club has already farewelled Rory Atkins and Bryce Gibbs, and holds a strong draft hand as it continues its rebuild under a new coaching panel.

Burns, a former Norwood SANFL footballer who went on to play 264 AFL games with Collingwood, has twice been in the frame to become Adelaide’s head coach. He applied for the role before the appointment of Brenton Sanderson in 2011, and was briefly regarded as the favourite for the job after Don Pyke’s departure last year, before reportedly ruling himself out of contention.

Crows head of football Adam Kelly said in a statement Burns was “highly regarded by everyone he has worked with across the industry”.

“We are excited by what he will bring to our coaching group, having gleaned knowledge and experience from some of the best coaches of the modern era,” he said.

“He knows what it takes to be part of a successful football program and we can’t wait for him to start.”

Burns said “the most enjoyable and rewarding times” in his coaching career thus far had been “working with a developing playing list, with young players supported by strong on-field leaders”.

“The Crows have talked about transitioning their list and we saw positive signs in the last few weeks of the season… I feel as though my skills and experience can help Nicksy and the other coaches, as well as the playing group, going forward,” he said.

Hawthorn’s chief of football Graham Wright said Burns had “played an important role in our football department for over three years”.

“During that time, our players, staff and other coaches have all significantly benefitted from Scott’s knowledge, experience and willingness to help others develop,” he said.

“While we are sad to see him go, he has received a fantastic opportunity with the Crows… he grew up in Adelaide, so this role will also allow him to return to his home state and be closer to family.”

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