Mid-season draft recruit Kallan Dawson will play his first game for the North Melbourne Kangaroos this weekend, with the key defender named in the VFL side to take on the Northern Bullants.

Dawson, a 196cm key defender, was drafted to the Kangaroos while sidelined with an ankle problem, but he has been declared fit to play on Sunday.

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Fellow AFL-listed defender Atu Bosenavulagi has also been named in the side.

VFL-listed Louis Cunningham will return to the field for the first time since Round 1. The classy midfield/defensive option has been missing from the side since suffering a concussion in the Round 1 victory over Williamstown.

Max Mitchell-Russell and Zach Monkhorst come in to support the ruck and key forward positions, and Will Doquile also comes into the side.

Tarryn Thomas and Jackson Archer exit due to call-ups to the seniors, while Hamish Murphy, Jacob Edwards, Youseph Dib and Michael Stingel also miss.

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Breaking the drought

North Melbourne started the 2022 VFL season in strong form, defeating Williamstown in Round 1 before knocking off a strong Footscray side on Good Friday.

Since then it's been anything but smooth sailing for the Kangaroos. They're now 19th on the ladder with two wins and eight losses for the season.

The Round 12 clash with GWS represented a marked uptick in quality from North. Despite falling to heavy Giants pressure in the fourth term to eventually lose the game, there's a strong argument to say the Roos should have been up at three-quarter time. It was a much improved showing from recent weeks.

This weekend's opposition is the 20th-placed Northern Bullants. With one win and 10 losses for the season they sit above bottom-placed Williamstown on percentage alone.

This is a must-win clash for both teams. Neither side has performed to the best of its ability so far this season, but both have shown flashes of quality across the season.

Whichever side puts together the most complete game of football should come away with a much-needed win.

By the bye

Due to the nature of this year's VFL competition each team has three byes over the course of the campaign. North Melbourne's first bye came in Round 3, and its second came last week in Round 13. 

The Kangaroos registered a brilliant win after the bye last time around, defeating the Western Bulldogs by just six points at Arden Street courtesy of a late Charlie Comben goal.

While the chief destroyers on the day in Comben (injured) and Paul Curtis (AFL team) won't be taking part in this week's clash, there are a number of players both AFL and VFL-listed who can step up against the Bullants.

The Round 3 bye came at a fortuitous time for the Kangaroos to allow them to reset and come out swinging in Round 4. Can North repeat the effort and grab the win once again?

>> The game will be streamed live on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App

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Sunday, June 26

North Melbourne v Northern Bullants at Arden Street Oval, 2.05pm AEST

B: 41. M McGuinness, 31. J Goater, 53. M Hore
HB: 15. A Bosenavulagi, 42. K Dawson, 60. L Cunningham
C: 46. D Tyson, 37. C Smith, 49. H Jones
HF: 1. J Mahony, 47. M Walker, 40. E Ford
F: 54. K Answerth, 66. Z Monkhorst, 36. P Spicer
R: 21. C Coleman-Jones, 33. P Walker, 35. C Lazzaro

INT: 50. H Dick, 58. B Stevens, 61. M Mitchell-Russell, 64. W Doquile, J Watkins

23rd player: 64. W Doquile
Emg: 48. H Murphy, 25. S Collins, 55. C Hinkley, 79. T Howard

Ins: 15. A Bosenavulagi, 42. K Dawson, 60. L Cunningham, 61 M Mitchell-Russell, 64. W Doquile, 66. Z Monkhorst
Outs: 26. T Thomas, 32. J Edwards, 34. J Archer, 55. C Hinkley 56. Y Dib, 58. H Murphy, 62. M Stingel, 60. S Collins

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