The Kangaroos travel to their home away from home this weekend to face-off against a resurgent Port Adelaide side. Blundstone Arena is set for a clash filled to the brim with exciting and intriguing football.

Given current form the Power certainly look to enter the clash as favourites. The game isn't played on form or on paper though, and North Melbourne fans will be hoping for a stirring response from their side following a batch of tough losses.

There are a number of questions to be answered and stories to be told this weekend, but here are four of the most pressing.

11:32 Mins
Published on

'We are really united': David Noble ahead of R9

David Noble at Wednesday's media conference before our clash with Port Adelaide in Hobart

Published on

How do the Kangaroos combat Port's trio of tall forwards?

When Charlie Dixon went down with a severe ankle injury in pre-season, Port Adelaide's forward structure was suddenly under the pump. Who would step up and fill a those massive boots Dixon had left? When the Power lost their first five games of the season that pressure became almost unbearably immense.

Enter the forward trio of Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson and Mitch Georgiades. A switch to a forward structure boasting three bona fide key-sized players has worked wonders for the Power and has helped turn their season around.

After languishing at the bottom of the ladder after five weeks the Power have leapt up to 10th and are just a game out of the eight. It's been a strong turnaround.

Marshall, Finlayson and Georgiades have kicked 29 goals between them this season, 17 of those have come in the last three weeks when the Power have been electric.

Marshall leads the way for Port with a superbly accurate 14 goals and two behinds for the campaign so far. Finlayson has a respectable 9.9, while Georgiades has struggled to lock-in in front of goals, kicking 7.11 for the season so far.

North Melbourne's defensive trio of Ben McKay, Aidan Corr and Josh Walker looked well-placed to dampen the threats of Port's forward line this week. Three talls against three talls. The maths worked out. However injuries to McKay and lockdown defender Aiden Bonar have muddied the match-up waters.

Does Matt McGuinness come in for his long-awaited debut to, most likely, play on Georgiades? Does Jack Ziebell float back and play as a third tall? Does Kyron Hayden come in for his first senior appearance of the year?

The danger of this forward trio is they can all take big marks, they can all draw strong defenders, and they can all kick bags of goals. How the Kangaroos' back six looks to negate them will be an interesting match-up come the first bounce.

01:50 Mins
Published on

AFL R9 injury update: Who's racing the clock to face the Power?

Hear the latest on North's injury list from general manager of football performance Dan McPherson

Published on

How much can Anderson improve as he continues to find fitness and form? 

The return of Jed Anderson to senior football last week was a happy sight for Kangaroos fans. After building his fitness through an altered pre-season program and two games of VFL football he returned to senior level last weekend.

He showed definite signs of rust on his return, and playing in his secondary position of pressure forward for much of the contest certainly didn't help him stamp his usual authority on proceedings.

Suffering a minor hamstring injury at a key point of his return schedule, coupled with playing on limited match time ahead of the Dockers clash meant it wasn't surprising that Anderson was carefully managed through his return game, but he'll be so much better for having returned to senior level as soon as possible.

He brings some much-needed grit and desire to this young North side, and regardless of whether he attends centre bounces his application in the contest sets a strong example for some of his teammates.

It's good to have one of the most experienced players at the club back in the side, now he needs show why he deserves to keep his spot ahead of some of the club's exciting young talent who are pressing their own claims for a return to the senior side.

Will a week of external noise lift the Shinboner spirit?

The emergence of a report that David Noble felt the need to apologise for his post-match address following the Round 3 defeat to Brisbane has not exactly allowed for the most streamlined of preparation heading into this weekend's clash with the Power.

While Noble has been forced to deal with what is, frankly, a now out of date story, his charges have come out and defended his methods during the week. There's no room to doubt the commitment of North Melbourne to Noble, or vice-versa.

Jack Ziebell delivered a powerful interview on SEN during the week, while a number of Kangaroos players vocally showed their support for their spearhead on social media on Wednesday night.

This story had the potential to create some cracks in the camp at Arden Street. If anything it's only made the bond between players and coaches even stronger heading into a tough fixture.

What could have been a worrying blow to the camp ahead of such a crucial clash could well turn out to be the catalyst needed to jump-start the Kangaroos' season.

Can Larkey and Zurhaar rediscover their brutal one-two punch?

There's no doubting that North's forward line struggled in the absence of Nick Larkey against the Dockers. One look at the scoreboard makes that blindingly obvious.

It can be difficult to draw positives out of such a big loss, especially when you offer such limited scoreboard pressure for almost the entirety of the game, as happened last Friday night.

One major positive that goes hand in hand with Larkey's impending return this weekend though is the individual performance of Cam Zurhaar on a tough night at Optus Stadium.

Kicking two of his side's three goals for the night, Zurhaar also flew high to pull down a Mark of the Year contender, using teammate Todd Goldstein and 204cm giant Sean Darcy as a brilliant platform to launch from.

His intent to attack both player and ball was unquestionable and he emerged as, by some margin, North's best player from a pretty dire display.

If Larkey and Zurhaar can rediscover the form that led them to be the AFL's leading goalkicking pair in the second half of the 2021 campaign it would go a long way to pulling their side out of the slump they currently find themselves in.

Becoming the main man for a night in Larkey's absence may just have given Zurhaar the jolt he needs to return to his electrifying best.

00:45 Mins
Published on

Zurhaar rockets up to take a Mark of the Year contender

The North Melbourne livewire leaps over a pack and brings the ball down with him.

Published on

GET YOUR ROUND 10 TICKETS

Watch the Kangaroos take on the Demons in Sir Doug Nicholls Round

Buy now!