North Melbourne pre-season news: All the happenings at the Kangaroos ahead of the 2022 season

Premiership coach Paul Roos was brought into Arden St as somewhat of a saviour, but he won’t be at North Melbourne games this season. Here’s why

Roos said yesterday he believed rebuilding North Melbourne was two or three years better progressed than Melbourne when he arrived at the Demons in 2014.

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Roos has been doing some part-time mentoring of AFLW players and some coaches over Zoom while spending the summer with family in Hawaii and continental America.

While his company Performance By Design will still continue running much of the club’s leadership work through co-founder Gerard Murphy, Roos will remain in America for the foreseeable future.

Paul Roos says there is no urgency for him to return to Australia from his American base. Picture: Michael Klein
Paul Roos says there is no urgency for him to return to Australia from his American base. Picture: Michael Klein

Last year he was appointed in a wide-ranging consultancy role for the football department, administration and board that saw him at times sitting in the coaches box alongside David Noble.

Sydney premiership coach Roos told the Herald Sun the club’s mature coaching department and his life in America meant he was scaling back his work at Arden St.

“I will leave the game-day stuff up to Gerard Murphy. I am doing some work with the executive team and the AFLW girls so it will be a different role. There is no urgency to get back to Australia, so it won’t be a game-day role,” he said.

“Nobes (coach David Noble) knows his stuff as does Johnny Blakey so it’s a case of handing it completely to them. I am really excited about the talent. We saw the kids last year with Davis-Uniacke and Jy Simpkin and (Nick) Larkey) and Cam Zurhaar and now (Jason) Horne-Francis.

“They are two or three years ahead of Melbourne when I first got there, which is a great sign. I will just do some leadership stuff and keep an eye on them and hope they go well.”

Paul Roos at North training last year. Picture: Jason Edwards
Paul Roos at North training last year. Picture: Jason Edwards

Former football administrator Noble will lead a team that includes senior assistant coach John Blakey, head of development Gavin Brown, forwards coach Heath Younie, midfield coach Jordan Russell and development coaches Anthony Rocca, Leigh Adams and Brent Harvey.

The Roos take on Melbourne on Thursday in their official pre-season practice match at Casey Fields ahead of their AAMI community series clash against Sydney on March 6

Will he or won’t he? Promising signs as Roos top pick dominates

—Chris Cavanagh

A trio of North Melbourne players are set to be sidelined for next week’s first practice match against Melbourne after suffering injuries in an intraclub clash on Friday night.

In an unfortunate first half, ruckman Tristan Xerri and defenders Luke McDonald and Aaron Hall were all taken out of the scratch match with injuries.

SCROLL DOWN FOR CAV’S NOTES ON THE ROOS’ INTRACLUB MATCH

Xerri clashed heads with McDonald while contesting the ball at ground level during the first quarter, with both set to now go through AFL concussion protocols which will sideline them for at least 12 days.

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Hall hurt his right hamstring while taking a kick out and was sitting on the bench iced up before halftime.

Hall will have scans on what North Melbourne described as “hamstring tightness”.

The Kangaroos face the Demons at Casey Fields at 11am next Thursday, ahead of their AAMI Community Series match against Sydney on March 6.

Aaron Hall has suffered a hamstring strain as Tarryn Thomas impressed in training. Picture: Getty Images
Aaron Hall has suffered a hamstring strain as Tarryn Thomas impressed in training. Picture: Getty Images

WHO WERE THE STANDOUTS

Tarryn Thomas was again silky smooth playing primarily through the midfield and will have a big say in the Kangaroos’ fortunes this year.

Thomas is continually finding more of the ball and his foot skills are elite.

Todd Goldstein was dominant in the ruck and also pushed forward to hit the scoreboard.

Will Phillips won plenty of the ball as he continues to develop strongly entering his second season, his composure and ball use standing out.

Small forward Jack Mahoney impacted on the scoreboard and also brought great pressure and tackling.

Similarly, fellow forward Cameron Zurhaar looks hungry and wasn’t afraid to lay a crunching tackle, including on fellow big body Jack Ziebell.

Cam Zurhaar is primed to take another step in 2022. Picture: Michael Klein
Cam Zurhaar is primed to take another step in 2022. Picture: Michael Klein

The maligned Jared Polec was all class on a wing, his day highlighted by a nice goal on the run during the second quarter.

Curtis Taylor showed some good signs playing through the midfield and up forward, while Eddie Ford kicked some nice goals in attack.

MOVING MAGNETS

Jaidyn Stephenson looks set to settle back in the forward line this season, having been used up the ground at stages this year.

The midfield mix will be an interesting watch, with plenty of young talent available to run through there.

RECRUITS/DRAFTEES WATCH

The mark of the day came from No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis, who soared above a pack of players to take a big contested mark during the third quarter.

He went back and slotted the goal from 15m out.

Horne-Francis spent time both through the midfield and in the forward line during the match and looked good in both positions as he continues to push his claims for a Round 1 debut.

Richmond recruit Callum Coleman-Jones had some nice moments around the ground.

He was forced to ruck against Todd Goldstein for most of the match after Tristan Xerri (concussion) was injured early.

Gold Coast recruit Hugh Greenwood was solid again through the midfield, bringing a big body and some good clearance work.

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WHO WAS MISSING

The match had featured most of the Kangaroos’ list, with just a few exceptions.

Midfielders Jed Anderson (vaccination requirements) and Ben Cunnington (testicular cancer) were the big absentees, with their short-term futures still uncertain.

Others to miss the match were Atu Bosenavulagi, Aiden Bonar, Jackon Archer, Phoenix Spicer, Flynn Perez and Matt McGuinness.

Originally published as North Melbourne pre-season news: All the happenings at the Kangaroos ahead of the 2022 season