Coach – Brad Scott
Points For – 7th
Points Against – 10th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Shaun Higgins
- Ben Cunnington
- Robbie Tarrant
- Ben Brown
- Jack Ziebell
2018 Rising Star Noms
Ins – Aaron Hall, Jared Polec, Jasper Pittard, Dom Tyson, Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker, Tom McKenzie, Tom Wilkinson
Outs – Ryan Clarke, Billy Hartung, Mitch Hibberd, Tom Jeffries, Oscar Junker, Alex Morgan, Declan Mountford, Gordon Narrier, Daniel Nielson, Brayden Preuss, Josh Williams, Jarrad Waite
This is hard for me to write but North Melbourne were great last year. They outperformed anything I thought they were capable of. Scott coached really well and they were probably unlucky to miss the finals. They also looked to have upgraded their list in general during the trade period and found a couple of players to address their need as far as pace on the outside goes.
The backline is solid, they have wheeled Thompson around again (Weekend at Bernies style) but he seems to keep getting the job done. Tarrant is coming off a couple of really good years. Daw last year was fantastic but unlikely to make the field this year and I think it will expose them a little bit for lack of pace and make them a little more predictable. I am not sure if Pittard will play many games but they may look for his run.
The midfield is better than last year. They have been workmanlike for a long time and lacked polish but I think the additions of Polec and Hall will give them a bit more speed and in the case of Polec, a bit more polish. He is a great deliverer of the ball and will do well with Ziebell and Cunnington finding the ball for him. Higgins was great last year and if he keeps his body right, I see no reason he won’t keep going. They need good years though from players like Tyson, LDU and Ahern for North to move forward.
The forward line is dangerous. McKay is developing nicely and Brown is a very good, reliable big man. He doesn’t have a lot of bad games and consistent influences contests. Mason Wood looked good a couple of seasons back and with a good run, has good footy in him. I am not convinced on their ground level smalls and will be interesting to see how that operates this year. If they get enough delivery then they are capable of kicking a winning score.
Goldstein is a great ruck and seems to have his head in the right place now. He is durable as well and he will need to be with Preuss being traded and Daw unlikely to play. Scott has no pressure on him this year and I think identified himself as a really good coach. He had the whole team on the same game plan and they executed it well. If you wanted to look for a worry (and of course I do) it is that they don’t seem to develop their young talent particularly well and they need those young players to start to make a difference.
I think I need to accept that North are going to be competitive. They aren’t a challenger and they aren’t a threat to the top eight but if you underestimate them, they will knock you over. I don’t think the new talent they have brought in will do enough to push them into final eight calculations but will be enough to keep them from bottoming out. I think that North is likely to finish somewhere between 10-12.