The final round of the home and away season is upon us, and victory for North Melbourne could prove to be a brilliant catalyst to take momentum into the 2022 pre-season, and beyond.
After struggling in the first half last week, the Kangaroos won the second half against Sydney, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to emerge from the clash with the four points.
With many players, young and experienced alike, banging down the door for one last appearance in 2021, North Media looks at who is in the mix.
Making himself a near undroppable member of North’s forward group this season, Jack Mahony missed the Sydney clash due to a shoulder injury.
Ranking second amongst rising stars in goal assists, and seventh amongst rising stars in total tackles, Mahony’s forward pressure has been a hallmark of his second season of AFL football.
Having played 19 games this season, he should slot straight back into the side if fit.
After being named as an emergency for the last three games, Phoenix Spicer looks to be the next player in line for a debut, impressing with his pace and x-factor at VFL level.
The young forward is banging the door down for his first AFL experience, and could be rewarded for his efforts with an appearance against the Crows.
Much like Spicer, Patrick Walker has been named as an emergency multipled times throughout 2021, and the first-year player could be awarded his first taste of AFL football in the final game of the season.
Able to play as either a defender or on the wing, Walker has impressed at VFL level with his elite kicking and high running capacity, not only getting forward to kick goals, but also tracking back to supplement the defence.
Charlie Lazzaro could make a return to the side, with his versatility to play in both the midfield and forward line making him a potential handy inclusion.
With ten games under his belt in 2021, Lazzaro’s last appearance came in the Round 18 clash with Essendon, where he finished with 14 disposals and a well taken goal.
Tristan Xerri and Tom Campbell could provide competition for spots as a ruck/forward, having both featured regularly in 2021.
Xerri looks to have been top of the pecking order before a shin injury ruled him out for the last two weeks, with the young ruck beginning to adapt to a more prominent forward role.
Should he be fit and ready to go, no doubt he’ll be competing hard in training to win his spot back.
Campbell is also on hand should David Noble want to select a more experienced body to take on Adelaide.
Playing nine games so far this season, he was a consistent member of the team early in the year, before coming back into the side for Round 21 against Richmond.
Should North look to add some run and carry out of the back line, Noble has a myriad of options to choose from, with the likes of Atu Bosenavulagi and Shaun Atley both working to break into the side.
Bosenavulagi impressed in his last AFL appearance in Round 20, kicking his first senior goal as he drifted forward from his defensive position.
After only being converted to a defensive role at the start of the season, he’s still learning how to play in the back half of the ground, and consistent exposure at the highest level will only help his development.
A crucial cog in the side for the first 19 rounds of the season, Atley has found himself out of the side in recent weeks.
Averaging 18.2 disposals, he’s enjoyed a consistent season, and should Noble want to add some experience to his side, Atley is ready and waiting.
Lachie Young is another versatile option that could come into the side, with the first year Roo capable of taking a place in defence or on the wing.
A mainstay of the side in the early season, Young has impressed at VFL level when given the opportunity, with his willingness to get stuck into the contest and move the ball quickly inside 50 both attributes that could serve him well should he return to the side.