While North Melbourne’s young list is deeper than most people might think, there are still a few key players who’s form will play a major role in the team’s success. Reverend Shinboner takes a look at who North will rely on most to win matches this season.
Daniel Wells – For too long, North have relied on Wells to provide the midfield class it has lacked. He can’t carry it alone and has clearly struggled with the weight of expectation and the heavy tag he cops every week. Brad Scott worked wonders for Leon Davis at Collingwood, and I am hoping for a similar transformation with Wells. A new game plan with off-ball defensive pressure should go a long way to that end. While osteitis pubis has resulted in a limited preseason, I’m looking forward to seeing Wellsy rip it up in 2010.
Drew Petrie – One of the club’s most amicable club-men, Drew has never been given the chance to settle into the key forward he always promised to become. Brad Scott has made it clear that this will change. And North’s dysfunctional forward line desperately needs him. With some good ball coming in from the midfield, I’d pencil in 40-50 goals from Petrie this season.
Liam Anthony – While only in his second year, LA will become central to North’s fortunes in 2010. LA’s key weapon is his ability to find time and space with the football. But it’s no good unless his disposals become more damaging. While not the worst user of the ball by any stretch, he has to step up. If not, the opposition will continue to tag the likes of Wells and allow Anthony to play his game. But if his disposal improves, and I expect it will, North’s midfield takes on a whole new dimension.
Matty Campbell – North missed ‘Flash’ in 2009 more than most people might think. His crumbing ability is well known, and his leading/marking skillz more than handy. But of more significance is his off-ball pressure. Chasing down even the most nimble defenders is routine for Campbell, to the point where dozens of normally calm opponents have lost their shit purely on the threat of Flash being in the vicinity. Injury free, Flash is worth 25+ goals a year to North Melbourne – plus the 25 odd he kicks himself! That’s 50 pretty hand goals the team could use in 2010.