In the midst of his 12th AFL pre-season, North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson says he’s not treating the summer training block any differently to his previous 11.

Turning 33 in April, Thompson won’t be using his veteran status as an excuse to take it easy, putting in the hard work to ensure he can be back bigger and better in 2019.

“It doesn’t feel any different, it’s been good so far,” Thompson told North Media.

“I’m attacking the pre-season like I always attack it, and that’s by trying my hardest and trying to get fit.

“I haven’t missed any sessions and the body is feeling really good, so I’m just waiting for the season to start.”

North’s number 16 will be forced to wait a week longer than the rest of his teammates, after he was handed a one-week suspension for striking St Kilda’s Jack Steele in Round 23 last season.

The Round 1 clash with Fremantle will be the first season-opener he’s missed in his career, but regardless of his absence, Thompson is eager to get the season underway.

“I’m very excited (for the season to start), and it’s exciting for the club,” he said.

“We had a good season last year, but I think with another year under our belts we can do much more.”

The Roos’ back six was a highlight last season, as the side ranked amongst the top two stingiest defences in the competition for the opening ten weeks.

With the competition for spots at a premium two months out from the home and away campaign, Thompson is confident the backline is building towards another standout year.

“At the start of pre-season it’s just about getting that fitness base back to where it needs to be, and now that we’re getting closer to games, we’re really working on our one-on-one defence, coming off to support your teammates, and those general defensive roles,” he said.

“Rhyce Shaw has come in as our defensive coach, and it’s nice to get a little change-up.

“We’re working on a few different things out there and it’s been good. Everyone’s come together really well with a few new guys out there, and everyone is almost back on the track.

“We’ll really start stepping it up in the next few practice games and showing the rest of the team what the defence can do.”