To say it’s an exciting time to be a North Melbourne supporter is a massive understatement. Once again, the team has nothing to lose and everything to gain from a young and underrated list widely tipped to fill the bottom rungs of the ladder. And once again, the tipsters will be in for a big wake up call. In this installment, Reverend Shinboner takes a look at a few of the players that the opposition will wish they saw coming in 2010.
Sam Wright – The boy from Katamatite only played a handful of games last season, but will play a big part in North’s future. Wright has the ability to add much needed polish to the midfield with his brilliant one-touch skills (and massive hands). Interestingly, Scott has given him kick-in responsibilities in some drills over the pre-season, which suggests he could be the go-to player rebounding out of defense. Getting enough ball remains Wright’s biggest challenge – if he does, he has the potential become a genuine game-breaker.
Ben Warren – The young Queenslander has had a massive pre-season, bulking up significantly, and looks set to step up after his breakout season in 2009. Strong in all contests, speed off the mark and a massive tank, Warren is shaping up as a genuine power forward of similar mould to Brendan Fevola (without the wanker attitude). Alongside Drew Petrie, ‘Milky’ could easily transform North’s otherwise shaky forward line into a potent force. Needs to continue to improve his kicking, particularly in front of goal.
Lindsay Thomas – After a disappointing ’09, LT appears to have done something he’s never done before: work hard. Known for his footy smarts, Thomas has struggled with consistency – particularly in front of goal – and negative body language. While some criticise him as too selfish, I would like to see LT continue to back himself. North needs more player makers, and Thomas is a natural footballing talent who should be encouraged to play his own game – he just needs to execute better than he has. I think the penny has dropped over the pre-season, and some hard running on-field will make 2010 his year. Along with a number of players, LT will spend bursts in the midfield, and with a new game plan and functional forward-line around him, anything is possible.