Three recruiting staff have walked out of North Melbourne a week before the mid-season draft in a new crisis for the struggling AFL club.
Kangaroos national recruiting manager Mark Finnigan and head of player personnel Glenn Luff quit on Tuesday, while colleague Ben Birthisel left last week.
It is understood Finnigan will join Hawthorn.
Their departures, amid unconfirmed reports they were frustrated at the club, leave football boss Brady Rawlings and veteran AFL recruiter Scott Clayton as the only members of their full-time recruiting staff.
The exodus comes amid reports last year's No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis was spoken to by the club for taking an interstate trip without North's knowledge.
Horne-Francis flew to Adelaide for Mother's Day after their round-eight loss to Fremantle and after a succession of flights in a short period, he missed round nine with hamstring tightness.
The young star has put contract talks with the club on hold until the end of the season.
North are wallowing at second-last on the ladder with only one win from 10 games and are ahead of West Coast on percentage.
They have not made the finals since 2016 and second-year coach David Noble had to defend himself earlier this month after news broke of a post-game spray he had given his players.
Details of what happened immediately after they lost to Brisbane by 108 points in round three were leaked to the media.
"The intention was correct, I believe that there is still a place for being direct and firm with your playing group, but just the delivery was probably not the right time," Noble said.
"We all get emotional at that point in time."
Noble added reports some of the Kangaroos' younger players were upset about the harsh address were not true, as far as he was aware.
Noble also denied reports there has been a major change in his game plan, with North's only win of the year to date coming against a depleted West Coast side in round two.
Following this latest drama, Rawlings said on Tuesday night North were ready for the mid-season draft despite losing the three staff.
But he conceded it was a setback.
"I don't think there's ever an ideal timing for when you lose staff. It's always a challenge," Rawlings told 3AW.
"We're really well prepared (for the draft) ... there's nothing that's going to change between now and next Wednesday that's going to affect anything we do for pre-season."
He added Birthisel had been approached to leave the AFL industry and had gone with his blessing.
Finnigan had been at Arden St for 17 years while Birthisel joined more than a decade ago with Luff going to the Kangaroos in 2018.
Australian Associated Press
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