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VFL: Report Card (April 7)

PRESS PLAY above to watch the David Loader post-match interview. David Loader spoke to North Media following North's VFL team's last practice match against the AFL Academy boys at the MCG.

Match result

AFL Academy 17.12.114 defeated North Melbourne 10.11.71

In action

Paul Ahern, Mitch Hibberd, Sam Wright, Nick Larkey, Alex Morgan, Ben McKay, Sam Durdin, Daniel Nielson, Will Walker, Braydon Preuss, Mason Wood, Josh Williams, Tristan Xerri, Tom Murphy, Gordon Narrier, Declan Mountford, Cameron Zurhaar

Nick Rippon, Tyrone Leonardis, Mitch Rodd, Jordan Harper, Nash Holmes, Steven Stroobants, Chris Jansen, Louis Cunningham, Michael Close, Nic Baker

Story of the game

In picture perfect conditions at the MCG, North’s VFL side fell to an energetic AFL Academy outfit by 43 points in the curtain-raiser to the AFL clash between North Melbourne and Melbourne.

The unbeaten pre-season record of the Roos was broken by a fast-running AFL Academy, which led at all three breaks in a game that was more closely contested than the score line suggests. Draft prospects Rhylee West and Jack Lukosius were influential for the youthful team, who were looking to impress on the big stage.

It was end-to-end footy for large patches of the first half, with North trailing by margins of just 11 and 15 points at the first two breaks, before the AFL Academy broke away in the final term.

Tasmanian Nic Barker kicked his first goal in the royal blue and white, while an in-form Nick Larkey also added two majors, bringing his pre-season goal tally to 15.

Returning utility Sam Wright was a standout. The 27-year-old provided some much-needed experience in defence and was efficient with his ball disposal.

Meanwhile, Nash Holmes was a constant attacking threat on the opposite side of the ground, providing drive and composure in many attacking sequences.

Best of the AFL

Sam Wright
In just his second game of competitive footy, Wright was an ever-present figure in defence and was rewarded for his efforts by being named as the best-on-ground.

“It was great to see Sammy Wright get through a full game, pull up okay and play reasonable footy,” VFL coach David Loader told North Media.  

Best of the VFL

Nash Holmes
Nash Holmes underlined his value to North’s VFL side with a memorable attacking contribution.

The gun midfielder showed why he was touted as a potential draftee with a promising display out of midfield. Further to this, Holmes was a goal threat almost every time he touched the ball.

“Nash was really strong around stoppages and did some good stuff, Loader said.

Talking points

Preuss’ dominance
The physicality of Braydon Preuss was on display today, with the towering ruckman dominating the ruck exchanges.

From the opening siren, the 22-year-old played an authoritative role around the stoppages, allowing North to quickly distribute the ball and create runs towards goal in both midfield and defence.

Round 1 looms
North will play its first game of the 2018 VFL season on April 15 against the Northern Blues at Avalon Airport Oval. 

Daw, Zurhaar on call
Majak Daw was a late call-up to the AFL team and was pulled from the VFL at the last minute to replace Robbie Tarrant, while Cameron Zurhaar only played a half, impressing in limited game-time before being standby for AFL duties.