Over the coming weeks, North Media will analyse the 2021 seasons of every player on the list.
To see all the reviews so far, click here.
13. Jared Polec
5 games; 12.6 disposals, 3.4 marks, 2.0 tackles, 2.0 score involvements, 2.4 intercepts per game.
In a season plagued by hamstring injuries, Jared Polec only managed to suit up for five games in 2021, with one of them coming in the form of a medical substitute appearance.
Starting the year with a bang, Polec was amongst North’s best in Round 1 against Port Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, before he upped his output the following week against Gold Coast.
After recovering from his hamstring problem, Polec was made to fight for his spot in North’s best 22, earning his stripes and proving his fitness at VFL level before being recalled in Round 19 against Carlton.
In the VFL, Polec played a key role in the Round 11 victory over a strong Werribee side, finishing with 28 disposals, while he had 30 touches and a goal in a dominant display the following week over a ladder-leading Footscray.
While he showed flashes of his lethal run and kicking game in his late season senior return, a strong pre-season could set Polec up for a far more consistent 2022 season.
Round 2 v Gold Coast
20 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 6 intercepts.
After missing 16 weeks due to a persistent hamstring injury, Polec finally made his return to the side in Round 19; a just reward for the effort he put in to regain both form and fitness.
The coaches said:
“For Jared it’s all about his body, he’s had an interrupted couple of years. He’s got to work really hard in getting his body to a level where he can withstand the rigours of AFL football. We’re looking forward to him having a really good off-season and pre-season. If you think back to his best footy, his speed, kicking and link-up were at a really high level. He’s just got to find a way to get his body back up to the fitness levels where he can continue to perform consistently.” - Jordan Russell (midfield coach)
14. Trent Dumont
14 games; 17.9 disposals, 5.4 marks, 1.9 tackles, 2.9 inside 50s, 2.7 rebound 50s, 3.4 score involvements, 2.9 intercepts per game.
After suffering a calf injury on Christmas Day of 2020, Trent Dumont was forced to wait until Round 9 for his first senior appearance of the season.
That fixture against Hawthorn not only saw North claim victory, but it also saw Dumont play his 100th game for the club; a milestone that ended up being well worth the wait.
Gaining much needed minutes at VFL level prior to his senior return, Dumont was a mainstay of the senior side in the second half of the year, playing in every fixture since his return.
His defensive run proved crucial in Round 13’s draw with GWS, with his 10 intercepts marking a new career-high for the classy wingman.
Tending to apply his best performances in victories over the season, Dumont finished with 21 disposals and 11 marks against Gold Coast as he found little trouble finding the uncontested ball in Round 15.
Round 17’s victory over West Coast saw him collect 17 disposals and register a season-high 5 score involvements, whilst in Round 19 against Carlton he finished with a season-high 27 touches.
Round 13 v GWS
22 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 3 score involvements, 10 intercepts.
All the stars seemed to align for Trent Dumont in Round 9, not just returning from a long-term injury to play his 100th game, but also playing a key role in one of North’s most emotional victories of the season.
The coaches said:
“He (Dumont) was great with some of our younger kids, Patty Walker in particular. The thing about ‘Froggy’ is he always plays his role well. He sets up well structurally, he helps others around the ball and helps get our stoppage structure right, he works his butt off to get back and help our defenders, and he’s really built his offensive game on being able to get uncontested ball. He uses the ball well and he had a really solid year.” - Jordan Russell (midfield coach).
15. Atu Bosenavulagi
7 games, 1 goal; 11.6 disposals, 4.0 marks, 1.9 tackles, 1.6 score involvements, 4.3 intercepts per game.
Crossing from Collingwood as an exciting forward or wing player ahead of the 2021 season, David Noble saw defensive potential in Atu Bosenavulagi early in the pre-season, converting him to a defensive role early in his tenure.
After learning his new role at VFL level in the early part of the season, he earned his North Melbourne debut in Round 5 against Geelong, and impressed with his pace, athleticism and reading of the game.
Finishing that clash with 16 disposals and 7 intercepts, he went on the play the following two games against Fremantle and Melbourne, before losing his place in the side.
A string of exciting VFL performances ensued, and after coming back into the side as the medical substitute in Round 18, he played a key role in the victory over Carlton the following week.
Omitted from the team after Round 20, he made his seventh and final senior appearance in the final game of the season against the Crows.
After spending much of 2021 adapting to not only a new position, but a new club, Bosenavulagi will be aiming for more consistent appearances at senior level in 2022.
Round 19 v Carlton
16 disposals, 93.8 per cent disposal efficiency, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 6 score involvements, 6 intercepts.
A move to the back line left Bosenavulagi waiting patiently for his first goal in senior football, but what a goal it was.
An athletic intercept, burning pace and a composed finish … all things North fans can expect from the number 15 going into the future.
The fans said:
The coaches said:
“We’re really pleased with Atu’s growth. He spent a lot of time with Gavin Brown developing the craft aspect of what it takes to play in defence. He made an impact once he came into the team because he’s got some genuine power, he’s quick, and he’s a good ball user who’s able to link us up coming out of the back half. We’ve been really happy with the way he’s developing.” - John Blakey (defensive coach).