Daniel Giansiracusa has ended his 21-year association with the Western Bulldogs to join the coaching ranks of AFL rivals Essendon.
The 38-year-old, who was named the 2020 assistant coach of the year, will join Blake Caracella, James Kelly, Dan Jordan, Leigh Tudor and Cameron Roberts as assistants to new Essendon coach Ben Rutten.
Giansiracusa had been with the Bulldogs since being selected with pick No.32 in the 1999 national draft.
After retiring in 2014 following a decorated 265-game career, Giansiracusa transitioned into a coaching role at Whitten Oval, overseeing the club's forward line before moving into stoppages and set plays.
He took over as coach of Footscray's VFL side in 2019.
"Gia has been a significant contributor to our program, from the initial drive toward our second premiership, to the more recent evolution of our on-field performance," Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge said.
"He has been open and transparent in his aspiration to be a senior coach and has performed a variety of critical roles extremely well, which has hastened his growth and experience and has made him an attractive proposition for rival clubs.
"We are very disappointed to lose Gia, but acknowledge that his new role at Essendon is an important one to pursue on his journey to become a senior coach."
Giansiracusa said he would be forever indebted to the Bulldogs.
"Firstly, for giving me the opportunity to play 15 years for the club, and then fostering and cultivating my coaching development over the past six seasons," he said.
"Bevo has continually supported my coaching development by providing me with opportunities to explore different coaching roles. I can't thank him enough for his mentoring and guidance."
Jordan Russell, who was stood down by the Bulldogs earlier this year due to the COVID-19 cuts, will return to the club as its VFL coach.
Australian Associated Press