North Melbourne look set to utilise at least one selection in next Wednesday's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft after General Manager of Football Talent Brady Rawlings confirmed first-year player Miller Bergman has been moved onto the club's long-term injury list.
Bergman, who was selected with the 38th pick in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, suffered a serious shoulder injury during his AFL debut against Carlton. The boyhood Kangaroos fan has since undergone season-ending surgery on the injury and has begun his recovery ahead of the 2023 season.
If clubs enter the campaign with a fully-stocked playing list as North did this year, moving a player (in this case Bergman) to the long-term inactive list can open up a mechanism to make a draft selection mid-season.
Aside from the spot opened up by Bergman, Rawlings says the club could utilise another pathway to attempt to bring in a second player.
"We've got one spot free at the moment with Miller Bergman's injury. We've got another weekend of football still to go through so there's the potential that maybe a second spot does open up, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Rawlings said on a recent Member Q&A, presented by AIA.
"We're really excited at the opportunities it presents. We've scouted 19-year-olds across the country, we've scouted the state leagues and we've scouted the delisted players from previous clubs.
"We think we can fill a list need or two if we do have those two picks."
The Kangaroos looked to the future in last year's Mid-Season Rookie Draft with the selections of young ruck/forward Jacob Edwards and rebounding defender Charlie Ham with the first and 16th selections respectively.
Still just 19 years of age, Edwards was drafted with one eye on the future. The young tall has been impressive in patches at reserve level this season but is still a raw yet exciting prospect in the middle of the ground.
With the myriad of young talent on the Kangaroos' list at the moment, Rawlings says the club is likely to select a more mature player to come in and help lead the group.
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"We've been looking a bit more at the mature space as opposed to last year where we looked at the 19-year-olds. That's not to say we discount the 19-year-olds, we're certainly going to have a couple of those one our list as well," Rawlings said.
"We need some more maturity in certain parts of our playing list so we've definitely been in that space. You look at key defenders, you look at small forwards, a bit of rebounding out of defence, a bit of outside run, that's where we're at as a club at the moment.
"We've got a few spots to fill and there's a few players out there that might be able to fill those needs."
As it stands, the Kangaroos will enter the draft with the second selection.
See every NAB AFL Mid-Season Draft pick live and exclusively on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App on Wednesday June 1 from 6.30pm AEST.