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Warren strides forward

DESPITE the threat to his own future in the side, experienced North Melbourne forward Corey Jones is supporting teammate Ben Warren's push for regular senior selection.

So convincing has Warren's pre-season been that assistant coach Brett Allison believes the 20-year-old is primed to play his first full campaign since joining the club as a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft.

Spending his first two years with North in development, Warren made his debut in 2009 but was limited to just nine games after breaking his leg against the Western Bulldogs in round 13.

For the first half of last season, he was the preferred option at half-forward over Jones, who played just one game to round 11 but held his place from rounds 12 to 20.

Allison said the pair would again be competing for the same spot, though Jones was still fighting back from pre-Christmas ankle surgery.

"He's probably a little bit behind the eight-ball at the moment fitness-wise and getting his game state up to the right levels that he needs to be at," Allison said.

"But we certainly know Corey's a player who can play at senior level and I'd expect to see him produce that form and expect to see him pushing really hard for a spot in the senior team.

"He knows himself that Benny Warren is going really well at the moment and I think, to his credit, that he's even mentoring and helping Benny along the way and giving him as much advice as he can.

"That's what we expect from all our senior players with our younger crew. We know and we're confident Corey can play a role for us during the season. He needs to get his chance."

Allison said he couldn't be more pleased with Warren, who has increased his strength and size and is among the five best runners in the squad.

However, he added that the Queenslander needed to keep working on his disposal.

"He pushes himself to exhaustion and runs his defenders off their feet, so it's pretty hard for them to keep up with him," Allison said.

"The proof will be in the pudding when the matches start but given his training form and training effort, he certainly would be in the best side we'd pick at the moment.

"Things change once you start playing against real opposition, and hopefully he can carry that form through to those games."

Allison said Warren was also working well in game simulation with key forwards David Hale and Drew Petrie, and that the three players had a clear understanding of the leading patterns the coaches had introduced.

Hale will be used as a ruckman at stages of the season, while small forwards Matt Campbell and Lindsay Thomas have spent around three-quarters of the summer training as midfielders.

Another forward option, Aaron Edwards, is nearing full fitness after November thumb surgery and will look to make considerable ground in the next fortnight.

"I still notice him not attacking the ball the way he was before he had the surgery, and he was flying before [then]," Allison said.