Being a good teammate isn’t about recognition. Of the 23 players lucky enough to pull on the royal blue and white each weekend, there’s a whole list of unselected players looking to help to motivate and drive those around them.

After 42 games at the Western Bulldogs, Tom Campbell walked through the doors at Arden Street with the task of pushing one of the greatest rucks of all time, Todd Goldstein, and try to win his position.

Playing 12 games in three seasons at North Melbourne, including nine in 2021, the 29-year-old leaves the club having had a huge impact not just on Goldstein himself, but on the entire playing group.

The 2019 John Law Medalist, Campbell’s positive attitude, high training standards and vocal presence pushed those around him to become better than they were the day before, whether that be established stars like Goldstein, up-and-comers like Tristan Xerri, or even VFL-listed talent.

“That side of things comes pretty natural to Tom, it’s just the way his personality is,” Goldstein told North Media.

“He’s someone who brought a lot of energy to the group no matter what was going on with his form or selection. He was always up and about.

“He understood his role within the group, and he was happy to pass his knowledge onto those around him.

“He knew what he could bring to the group from a non-footballing perspective, and that enthusiasm went a long way to why he played early in the season.”

Overtaking Aaron Sandilands for the most hitouts in AFL history in the 2021 season, Goldstein has established himself as not just one of the premier rucks in the AFL today, but one of the best of all time.

Despite all the accolades and honours he’s won over his career though, he’s maintained high training standards year on year, never letting himself get comfortable in the senior side.

He says the challenge and influence of Campbell on his training over the past three seasons has been key to his own improvement.

“It’s definitely made a huge difference to train against a big-bodied, AFL capable ruck few the last pre-seasons,” Goldstein said.

“It allowed me to try different things, and Tom’s pushed me in ways other rucks haven’t been able to. It was a huge positive for me to have to come up with plans on how to beat him each week.

“Tom has played a huge role in my improvement in his time at the club, and I’m forever grateful for how he’s helped me get better over the last few years, and for helping me get to where I’ve got to.

“It’s put pressure on myself and the other players in the senior side, because we know there’s been that consistent, high-quality performer pushing us all the way.”

Arguably Campbell’s most telling contribution in his time at the club, however, has been his contribution as a mentor.

Often cited by the likes of Xerri, Charlie Comben and Jacob Edwards for his influence, Campbell leaves Arden Street having undoubtedly not just progressed his own ability, but leaving his mark on the club’s crop of exciting young talls.

Having been a dominant force at VFL level for much of his time at the club, Goldstein says his ability to teach young players at the lower level is priceless.

“The VFL plays a huge role in terms of shaping and developing our list, especially for a lot of our younger, more raw players,” Goldstein added.

“You’re looking for players to be AFL ready to come into the side, and to have a player like Tom down there to help teach and work with players like, for example, Will Phillips last season, is huge.

“He played a massive role in helping get them up to speed and understanding how we want to play at AFL level, while still keeping pressure on guys to perform.

“He’s been a very vocal person in our group, and he’s going to leave a huge hole, but I’m excited to get to work with our ruck group next season and build on some of things he’s taught us.”