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Swallow holds no grudges

Nick Bowen - AFL.com.au  February 10, 2017 5:47 PM

Andrew Swallow admits he didn't like Braydon Preuss' tackle on him during North Melbourne's intraclub game on Friday, but he holds no grudges and wants the ruckman to continue to be aggressive on the field.

Preuss lifted and dumped Swallow to the ground in a tackle during the first quarter of Friday's game between 'Country' and 'City' teams.

Although the former North skipper was not injured in the incident, he understandably reacted angrily, immediately remonstrating with the ruckman.

However, Swallow told reporters after the game Preuss' tackle had been the result of poor technique rather than any malicious intent.

"We want Preussy to be really aggressive and he's a big fella and he didn't quite get the technique right but he's going to continue to refine that," Swallow said.

"I didn't like it, but it's all good."

Asked whether he had feared injury when he was lifted off the ground in the Preuss tackle, Swallow said he didn't have time to think about it.

"To be honest, it went so quick that I just got up and wanted to show him I wasn't happy," Swallow said.

There was plenty of other niggle in Friday's game, most notably Lindsay Thomas remonstrating with Luke McDonald after a late spoil in the first quarter.

Swallow said North's entire pre-season had been fiercely competitive, with players ready to fight for positions in what will be a new-look team in round one.

"We've lost a lot of our older guys so there are a lot of spots up for grabs and guys are really competitive, which is a good thing," the former skipper said.

"We play a full-contact sport, blokes are being aggressive and competing against each other and that's what we want.

"At the end of the day we're happy in the change rooms, but we're competing and we're going to go hard."

North's Country team lead by Jack Ziebell won Friday's game 90 points to 60, with the Roos skipper dominating in the midfield. Senior regulars Shaun Atley, Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins (who switched to City late in the game) and Lindsay Thomas also impressed for Country, while key forward Ben McKay (2.3), Preuss and former Magpie Marley Williams advanced their claims for round one spots.

Jamie Macmillan and Luke McDonald battled hard in defence for City, Swallow, Ryan Clarke and Trent Dumont were productive through the midfield, while former Bulldog Nathan Hrovat continued his eye-catching pre-season.

Todd Goldstein (ankle), Ben Brown (knee), Majak Daw (knee), Scott Thompson (adductor), Sam Wright (ankle), Ben Jacobs (foot) and Sam Gibson (hamstring) were among the players who missed Friday's game, while key defenders Robbie Tarrant and Lachie Hansen also watched from the sidelines.

Swallow downplayed fears over Goldstein's fitness, saying the ruckman had "a really good session" earlier on Friday and was expected to return for North's second or third JLT Community Series game.

The three-time best and fairest winner said North's long injury list was worrying with the season so close to starting, but was hopeful the club's youngsters were ready to step up if required.

"It is worrying in one regard but I think there's the unknown of how the guys are going to come in and play, which is exciting," he said.

"So hopefully we can see them come on and really thrive. There's a different energy about the place, which we haven't seen for a long, long time.

"I think that's really helped everyone push along in the pre-season."