Versatile Tasmanian-born midfielder Hugh Greenwood will join North Melbourne as a free agent after he agreed to a two-year deal with the club on Monday.
He comes to the Roos from Gold Coast, where he spent the past two seasons after crossing from Adelaide at the start of 2020. The 29-year-old has played 83 games since making his AFL debut as a mature-age rookie in 2017.
Greenwood enjoyed his most productive individual season in 2020, when he polled 11 Brownlow votes from 17 matches and placed fourth in the Suns’ best and fairest.
The 29-year-old suffered a medial ligament injury in round 17 this year and although he failed to appear in Suns’ colours again, he was deemed fit prior to the end of the season. He is expected to be ready for day one of pre-season training.
Greenwood became a free agent after the Suns delisted him ahead of the AFL’s list lodgement period last week.
Gold Coast made a commitment to re-draft Greenwood in the upcoming draft period and it was expected that he would accept the Suns’ offer to be re-drafted. Under AFL rules, however, Greenwood was free to be signed by any team. He had interest from other clubs, but chose the Roos.
North Melbourne GM of Football Talent Brady Rawlings said that Greenwood’s signing was a departure from the club’s recent strategy of targeting young talent, but the opportunity to sign a player of his calibre was too good to pass up.
“Clearly we’ve gone down the path of bringing in youth the past couple of years but we’re always on the lookout to improve the list,” Rawlings said.
“At 191 centimetres, Hugh’s a big-bodied midfielder who can push forward or back. Every club is on the lookout for this type of player so we knew we had to act quickly when he became available.
“Hugh liked what we’re doing here at North and wanted to be part of it. It’s fair to say we were pretty pumped when he told us he was keen to come to Arden St.”
Rawlings said Greenwood would add size and aggression to the Roos’ talented batch of emerging midfielders.
“Hugh was the number one pressure player and tackler in the league across 2020 and ’21 until he was injured. Add that to his leadership capabilities and A-grade character and you’ve got someone who perfectly complements our young midfield group.
“Nobes (coach David Noble) actually recruited Hugh to Adelaide back in 2015 and knows him intimately. When he came onto the market it was unanimous among our list management team that we should accelerate our interest. Once everything checked out we looked to get his signature.”