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Warren pushes up

Ben Warren is eyeing a new role at North Melbourne, admitting he'll need to add another string to his bow to guarantee his selection in the side.

The 20 year-old says the battle for spots is intensifying in the lead-up to the club's first pre-season matches and spending time further up the ground will help his game immensely.

"…It's probably the most competitive I've seen during the pre-season," Warren told

"It looks like anyone on the list could play a game throughout the year which I don't think has happened since I've been here, and probably doesn't happen at many clubs, so I just want to become a bit more of a versatile player.

"I've been playing just the hit-up role every week. This year hopefully, I'll be able to play that role but also be able to go up the ground and help out on the wing, chop out a couple of midfielders and if we are a key forward short, still be able to take a contested mark."

The number five's hard-working approach to training and game preparation is a key to his rapid development in the past few years.

"How I play is I just tend to run a lot and try and blow my opponents up. I try to train how I want to play," Warren added.

That mentality was rewarded at the club's most recent time trial when Warren finished sixth and beat his personal best time around Princes Park.

"I find that my aerobic side is one of my biggest strengths. On the footy field I'm not the smartest cookie going around, so I can't just rack up possessions. I need to work pretty hard for them so I make sure I do.

The trade week addition of Ben McKinley, a similar type to Warren and fellow forward Aaron Edwards, makes for an intriguing selection argument. But the youngest of the trio has no doubts they can co-exist.

"We can all play a role around the ground. If I give a chop out in the middle, Ben (McKinley) is running well and he and Aaron can play key forward there's no reason we can't all play. It's only going to improve us all as players and be better for the side."

Drew Petrie's return will also add another dimension to the Kangaroos' forward line and Warren can't wait for the vice-captain to pull on the boots.

"Having Drew back is great. People rate him highly and yet he's still one of the most underrated players in the competition. He's definitely one of our most important players. He's so selfless and helps out everyone in the forward line."