North Melbourne's reserves team will be strengthened by four senior players and an ex-Carlton defender for Saturday's game against Richmond.

Having stepped up as interim senior coach following David Noble's departure by mutual agreement on Tuesday, coach Leigh Adams has handed the reins to development coach Tom Lynch.

Jason Horne-Francis is headed for the seniors with Adams, having won a recall on the back of a strong performance against Collingwood in which he accumulated 31 possessions, seven clearances and a goal.

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While they will be missed, reinforcements are on the way.

Jack Mahony will once more feature up forward, having been the substitute for the senior team's narrow defeat to the Magpies.

At the opposite end Josh Walker will take a key forward, while Kayne Turner (concussion) and Jackson Archer (hip) will play their first competitive minutes since the seniors' trip to Tassie late last month. 

Former Carlton defender Tom Williamson has also been named in the back pocket, having this week put pen to paper with North Melbourne.

Williamson took a leave of absence from the Blues in early June, and earlier this month the two parties came to the mutual decision that he would step away from his AFL career.

The 23-year-old represented Carlton in 44 games at senior level, and won a reputation with Blues fans for his tackling, intercepting and appetite for risk with ball in hand.

Richmond sit on the fringes of the eight, and will be fresh having seen out their scheduled bye.

Steve Morris' side is lined with emerging talent such as Riley Collier-Dawkins, Thomson Dow, Bigoa Nyuon and Sydney Stack.


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Tom Lynch takes the reins

With Leigh Adams pressed into service as North Melbourne’s AFL interim senior coach for the remainder of the season, first-year development coach Tom Lynch has been handed the reins of the VFL side for the remainder of 2022.

A former player with St Kilda and Adelaide, Lynch only retired at the end of the 2021 season and has already twice led the reserve side already this campaign - the Round 5 clash against Frankston and the Round 6 clash against Carlton, and while the Kangaroos lost both games they did look strong in patches of each contest.

Lynch will by no means be forced to take on the brunt of the job by himself. Long-time North Melbourne head of development and Collingwood legend Gavin Brown will continue to support Lynch in the same way he supported Adams during his tenure in charge of the side.

The chance for Lynch to take on his own team, even just on an interim basis, so early in his coaching career speaks volumes about his ability as a teacher and a leader. These next few weeks will offer him an invaluable chance to progress his coaching career and learn important lessons on the job.

If Adams’ development as a coach over the last two seasons is anything to go by, Lynch has been presented with a brilliant opportunity to broaden his own horizons.

Fantastic Ford

After establishing himself as a strong VFL talent over much of 2021, second-year forward Eddie Ford has spent most of his time at reserve level this year hammering home the fact that he looks ready for a consistent run in the senior side.

Earlier this year Ford looked to have found that opportunity, and a well-taken goal against the Western Bulldogs on Good Friday indicated his quality to those who hadn’t seen his performances in the VFL.

An ill-timed ankle injury saw him sidelined for a number of weeks, but he looks on the cusp of returning to the senior fold, and a strong performance against the VFL Tigers will only strengthen his case.

Ford has kicked eight goals in four games since his return, converting everything from snaps, to long range set shots, to goals on the run. He’s also clunked some impressive contested marks in that time.

While he still has a lot to learn he’s been a joy to watch this season whether he’s been at AFL or VFL level.

Saturday, July 16

North Melbourne v Richmond at Arden Street, 2.35pm AEST

B: 15. A Bosenavulagi, 34. J Archer, 42. K Dawson
HB: 41. M McGuinness, 19. J Walker, 28. K Turner
C: 31. J Goater, 22. P Walker, 51. T Williamson
HF: 40. E Ford, 1. J Mahony, 49. H Jones
F: 50. H Dick, 54. K Answerth, 61. M Mitchell-Russell
R: 32. J Edwards, 46. D Tyson, 70. J Watkins

I/C: 53. M Hore, 58. Stevens, 60. N Beattie, 62. S Collins, 64. Z Monkhorst
23rd player: 60. N Beattie

EMG: 55. C Hinkley, 57. C Smith, 59. J Lipscombe, 68. J Guthrie

IN: 1. J Mahony, 19. J Walker, 28. K Turner, 34. J Archer, 51. T Williamson, 60. N Beattie, 62. S Collins
OUT: 6. J Horne-Francis, 37. K Hayden, 57. C Smith, 59. J Lipscombe, 64. W Doquile, 68. J Guthrie, 75. C Weightman