New co-captain Luke McDonald, also benefiting from a summer working with leading group Leading Teams, has been typically stable for the blue side against the opposing centre-back.
Cam Zurhaar was an explosive striker but the Kangaroos are hoping he can become a dynamic midfielder. He was used on center bounces and stops on Saturday and could be a game changer this season.
Harry Sheezel, the No. 3 in last year’s national draft, got a defensive role over half defense in the first half and his use of the ball was good. Sent forward in the third term, he conjured up a delicate checkside snap, a trait recruiters praised in his junior days. Former Hawk Liam Shiels, now with the Kangaroos, has compared him to Prime Minister Hawk Luke Breust. “We all know he has great composure and great ability with the ball,” Shiels said on Saturday. George Wardlaw, who was taken down by the pickaxe, was put on a special strength and conditioning program for six weeks. “He’s had a lot of breaks in the last two years. He had COVID two years ago and a series of soft tissue injuries last year,” Kevin White, Kangaroos Head of Performance. “When he was initially integrated into main training, some baseline tests of his strength and fitness showed that he was a bit removed from the main group. [However] in his performance measurements in the gym he was No. 1 in the club.” Father-son selection Cooper Harvey also found plenty of possession.
And the old
Daniel Howe is one of several former Hawthorn faces at North. Howe made his mark as a tagger with the Hawks and was used in midfield on Saturday. Shiels had the game up. “I feel really refreshed, but I was a bit tight [hamstring] a few weeks ago,” Shiels said. Will Phillips provided a shot through midfield after a frustrating 2022, while Tom Powell was arguably the best in the field. Paul Curtis was also busy. Jaidyn Stephenson spent some time as a half-back and half-forward. And it was great to see Ben Cunnington walking around in full fitness after two years with testicular cancer. He had his usual role as a centre-back in the first half and pushed forward after the break, scoring three goals.
Keep an eye on Charlie Comben, the forward jerk who could be Nick Larkey’s long-term forward partner. Comben made a big mark on the goal line and converted in the second half before heading into the ruck minutes later and finding Zurhaar in front to score another goal. Larkey was also in good shape, as was Tristan Xerri. What’s clear is that the Roos have a handful of big ones, including veteran Todd Goldstein, jostling for spots – a depth that wasn’t there last year.
Star Tiger on light duty
Richmond provider Liam Baker has an easy task after his appendix was removed this week.
As the Tigers took to the training circuit on Saturday, the club said Baker, a double Premier League player, will return to training next week.
“He woke up with quite a tummy ache over the weekend and had it checked out and unfortunately his appendix had to be removed,” said Richmond assistant coach Xavier Clarke.
“But Bakes is quite strong and he will be ready for the first round, there is no doubt about that. We’ve all seen him play. If it were up to him, he’d probably train outside. But he will rest and he will be fine in the coming weeks.”
There’s more to come
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/clarkson-showcases-first-roos-moves-star-tiger-on-light-duties-20230218-p5clk1.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Griffin Logue makes statement as manager Alastair Clarkson makes first move for North Melbourne; Richmond Tigers’ Liam Baker has an appendix removed