After establishing himself down back, Sam Wright has become one of the club's most valuable defenders.
9:45pm Jan 24, 2016
Wright enjoyed arguably a career-best season, improving and earning a new three-year deal.
10:46am Oct 23, 2015
8:24pm Oct 9, 2015
4:27pm Oct 7, 2015
4:25pm Sep 22, 2015
10:43am Jul 23, 2015
2:02pm Jul 13, 2015
9:00pm Jul 11, 2015
Junior clubs: Katamatite
Recruited from: Murray Bushrangers
Draft: #27, 2008 National
Debut: Round 8, 2009 v Geelong
- Dual-sided, quality disposal
- Reads the play well
- Muk Hair Care PTY LTD
- Fred & Fay Sands + The Rowe Family
From Katamatite, Sam Wright was part of the 2008 Murray Bushrangers premiership side.
Playing alongside future stars such as Jack Ziebell, Steele Sidebottom and Tom Rockliff, Wright’s skills on both sides of the body stood out, averaging 18 disposals a game for the season.
His ability to read the play well saw Wright deployed in a number of positions. North Melbourne selected him with pick 27 in the 2008 National Draft, making it two Bushrangers for the year.
Mid-season, from Josh Drummond
“Wrighty got a lot of confidence out of the end of last year. Playing well and contributing in finals wins helped him and he also had a good pre-season.
“He’s come along in leaps and bounds while having a good mix. He’s right up there in offensive stats for a defender but he’s also played on good forwards like Luke Breust and Devon Smith.
“We still think there’s a fair bit of upside but he’s playing a good brand of footy at the moment.”
Second half of 2015, from Josh Drummond
“He really nailed down that small defender spot and he pretty much played on the best small forward every week.
“For the most part he’s won his battle each week. He really grew off last year and improved, and we need him to improve even further.
“He also gave us great run out of the back half.
What was shaping to be a lost 2014 for Sam Wright turned around dramatically in the last two months of the season.
After only playing four of North Melbourne’s first 14 games, Wright returned to the side in Round 16 to face Hawthorn.
Given the job on dangerous forward Luke Breust, the defender was one of the side’s best on the evening. Breust only had five kicks, while Wright collected 22 disposals and five rebound 50’s. From there he went from strength to strength, regularly getting the better of his opponent.
Not only was Wright able to carry out his defensive tasks, the skills on both sides of his body made him a valuable player with ball in hand. After his Round 16 return, he led North Melbourne in rebound 50’s for the rest of the season.
The number 19’s good form was reflected in the Syd Barker Medal count, as he polled in all but one of the games to close the season.
Mid-season, from Brett Allison
“Sam could still be anywhere and everywhere depending on what the team needs in any given week. His versatility has been his strength, playing in all areas of the ground.
“For Sam it’s all about taking his opportunities in front of goal. He’s had some chances to kick goals and impact the scoreboard but hasn’t nailed those shots.
“He’s a natural forward, which is why we use him in that defensive role. We know that he’s disciplined enough to shut down the opposition’s creative playmaker, but he still has those natural tendencies to present and get used.”
End of season review
Floating between the half-back line and being a defensive forward depending on the team structure, he performed well at times.
However there were also periods of time where he struggled to get his hands on the ball and it eventually resulted in a stint at Werribee. On his return, Wright put together four consecutive good games.
Settled in defence, Wright used his strong pre-season to play a career high 21 games and poll his first votes in the Brownlow.
Adding to his quality disposal by foot, Wright showed a new willingness to set up teammates via handball. His 156 handballs for the season easily outnumbered his 96 from 2010.
Wright was also used in a semi-tagging role in select matches. Against Geelong he shadowed Steve Johnson, restricting the Cats’ star to just six disposals in the first three quarters before Johnson was moved into the midfield, away from him. Then against St Kilda, Wright neutralised Goddard who was frustrated to the point of being suspended for striking.
It would have been expected that Wright would have built on his 2010 by taking another step in 2011, but unfortunately it was not the case as he spent the year dogged by injury.
After playing the first seven games, he suffered a shoulder injury and was out of action for five weeks. On his return, Wright kicked three goals from just seven touches against Essendon but injured his shoulder once more. It was his last game for the season.
Wright's strong Utah trip in November set him up for an injury free 2012.
Wright showed a glimpse of his talent in 2009 with four games, yet he really broke out in 2010, cementing his spot in the side. He played 20 games in a variety of roles, showcasing his versatility.
He appeared to have settled in a role in the forward half with his finish to the year. In Wright's last five games he kicked 14 goals while also collecting double figure disposals in all of those encounters.
Even with his increased possession numbers, Wright demonstrated an ability to influence a game with limited disposals. Against Melbourne in Round 6, Wright had just seven touches but kicked three goals.
- Disposals: 10
- Tackles: 3
- Goals: 1
- Time on Ground: 51%
- Disposals: 32
- Marks: 12
- Brownlow votes: 3
- Time on Ground: 99%
- Disposals: 15
- Rebound 50's: 3
- Tackles: 2
- Time on Ground: 87%
Round 8, 2009 v Geelong
Venue: Simonds Stadium
North Melbourne: 1.2.8, 3.3.21, 6.6.42, 7.7.49
Geelong: 5.3.33, 12.5.77, 15.9.99, 18.11.119
Round 20, 2012 v Essendon
Venue: Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne: 6.2.38, 8.4.52, 11.7.73, 15.10.100
Essendon: 5.2.32, 8.6.54, 9.10.64, 11.10.76
Round 17, 2015 v Brisbane
North Melbourne: 5.5.35, 7.7.49, 9.11.65, 16.14.110
Brisbane: 1.1.7, 4.4.28, 4.5.29, 5.8.38