No matter the level he's played at, Nick Larkey has been primarily responsible for one thing. Kicking goals.

Since he joined North Melbourne's leadership group at the beginning of the 2022 season though, his responsibilities to his teammates have drastically increased.

It's up to the leaders of the club to set the standards, raise the bar and drive improvement, and Larkey is certainly playing his part in helping to do that.

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His rise from the 73rd pick in the draft to one of the most important young leaders at the club has been meteoric.

Sometimes setting those standards means having hard conversations with teammates, and Larkey says the whole club is buying into the drive to improve.

"We're all trying to get better and demand things from each other … it's a matter of the younger boys coming up to match the standards we're trying to create," he said.

"Because we're such a young group, we need to raise that standard. We don't have a lot of veterans.

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"We talk about having a red head and a blue head, being really calm or being a bit more aggressive in the way we talk to each other.

On the field sometimes it needs to be like that because you need to get a message across … sometimes those conversations are necessary.

"Everyone can just be themselves around each other in this team which is what makes it such a good environment to be around."

It's not just the team's improvement Larkey is trying to drive, but his own.

Having just turned 24 with fewer than 100 games under his belt, it can be assumed he has some way to go before he reaches his ceiling.

Larkey booted 42 goals in a breakout 2021 season, highlighted by his seven-goal demolition of Carlton in Round 19.

His tally of 22 goals in 12 games has him on track to match that season's average of 1.9 goals.

'Souv' says he's dialled in on what he believes to be his biggest growth areas.


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"I've been working really hard this year on my contested marking, which is something I still think I can really improve on," he said.

"It hasn't really been up to scratch this year and I think I could have impacted games more if I was a bit better in that area.

"I can't drop off when it's not coming in nicely … it can't just be on a silver platter the whole time, and I understand that.

"It's just staying in the game mentally so when it does turn and it does click, I'm there for the team."


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