North Melbourne's VFL side has added five inclusions for its clash with Geelong as it looks to get back onto the winners list.
Back to back heavy losses have seen the Kangaroos drop to sixteenth on the ladder in the 21-team division, while the Cats sit in 10th spot with three wins and two losses.
The Kangaroos' inclusions are headlined by AFL-listed Charlie Comben and veteran Dom Tyson, while senior call-ups have seen Jed Anderson and Atu Bosenavulagi come out of the side.
Zach Monkhorst will continue in the ruck due after an impressive performance against Carlton's Alex Mirkov last week. He finished with 20 hitouts and a goal in his Kangaroos debut against the Blues.
Josh Goater will miss the clash due to a concussion sustained against Carlton last week while Will Phillips is out due to illness.
Earning their stripes
North Melbourne fans are clamouring to see two of the club's young stars, Comben and Tom Powell, suit up for the senior side and gain experience at the top level.
Comben has, on multiple occasions, shown he certainly possesses the quality to attempt to take that leap to the standard of the AFL, while Powell proved himself to be one of the most exciting midfield talents on any list last year before his campaign was cruelly cut short.
It serves to remember that current tall options Todd Goldstein and Nick Larkey each served long apprenticeships in the VFL, while now established midfield stars like Ben Cunnington and Jed Anderson also spent time in the reserves early in their careers to hone their craft.
With Comben and Powell both missing large periods of football last year, getting their bodies hardened in the VFL might be frustrating for fans to see now, but it could well be the best thing for their long-term development.
The moment the Kangaroos took the chocolates on Good Friday!— #VFL / #VFLW (@VFL) April 15, 2022
Charlie Comben had a day out at Arden Street, booting four majors.
Stream all the #VFL action here: https://t.co/dBCbjKhgzz pic.twitter.com/uQ6qDYIn11
Mat Walker's day out
Kangaroos fans undoubtedly saw the best of forward Mat Walker last week. His four-goal performance placed him head and shoulders above his teammates as North's best player in the difficult loss to the Blues.
Delisted from Hawthorn's senior list at the end of the 2020 season, Walker has shown the X-factor that saw him successfully get drafted in his two seasons at the Kangaroos, however form, injury and COVID-cancelled fixtures have prevented him from finding the consistency in front of goal which every forward craves.
At 188cm tall he possesses a strong leap and ability to take big pack marks, but the class and agility he shows at ground level is similar to that of a far smaller man. He often seems far older and more experienced than just 22 years of age.
With the Kangaroos' forward line remaining relatively settled so far this season, things look well placed for Walker to find that consistency. With the Cats generally looking strong at VFL level each passing year another tough test looms.
Saturday, May 7
North Melbourne v Geelong at Arden Street Oval, 3.05pm AEST
B: 53. M Hore, 41. M McGuinness, 78. A Wright
HB: 52. S Collins, 61. M Mitchell-Russell, 34. J Archer
C: 46. D Tyson, 59. J Lipscombe, 33. P Walker
HF: T. Powell, 35. C Lazzaro, 48. H Murphy
F: 30. C Comben, 32. J Edwards, 47. M Walker
R: 66. Z Monkhorst, 49. H Jones, 54. K Answerth
I/C: 56. Y Dib, 57. C Smith, 60. J Guthrie, 60. J Watkins, 75. C Weightman
23rd player: 57. C Smith
Emg: 50. H Dick, 55. C Hinkley, 58. B Stevens, 68. D Stone
Ins: 30. C Comben, 46. D Tyson, 57. C Smith, 75. C Weightman, 61. M Mitchell-Russell
Outs: 3. J Anderson, 15. A Bosenavulagi, 27. M Bergman, 29. W Phillips, 31. J Goater, 37. K Hayden
>> The game will be streamed live on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App