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"I just love tackling"

"I just love tackling people."

If Cameron Zurhaar's five first-quarter tackles and 11 for the match didn't ram that home, he made sure everyone knew in North Melbourne's euphoric rooms on Friday night.

The West Australian battering ram, known as 'Bull' to his teammates, didn't kick a goal in the Roos' 37-point demolition of Richmond, yet was one of their best players with his tone-setting pressure.

It was Zurhaar's latest impactful performance in a breakout 2019 campaign that already included being the round seven NAB AFL Rising Star nominee after a career-high five majors.

There was a moment in the last quarter when the 21-year-old received a handball on the wing, tucked the Sherrin under his arms and fended off Tiger Noah Balta, who is almost 20kg heavier.

Zurhaar lost control of the ball soon after and it spilled out of bounds, but it's that sort of confidence – bordering on arrogance – that makes him such a fan favourite.

These weren't stat-padding tackles, either. Richmond knew when he was around.

The first noteworthy one came as Zurhaar buried first-year Tiger Sydney Stack to win a holding-the-ball decision, then he nailed Richmond ruckman Ivan Soldo early in the second term with his sixth tackle.

Arguably the best of them all came in the match-winning third quarter, when he ran down defender Nathan Broad to win another free kick.

"I like to hit them hard. I'm a WA boy, and we were born to hit hard," Zurhaar told AFL.com.au with a wide grin post-match.

"Forward-half tackles are just massive for me. I love tackling people, I can't complain about that, but I also like getting on the scoreboard, because I'm a forward – everyone does.

"I'm definitely feeling more comfortable, and I feel like I belong in the side. I guess if I just bring my forward-half pressure, I'll get games.

"It took me a little bit (to break into the team), which is a bit upsetting on my behalf, but it's the best feeling in the world playing AFL footy and being around these types of blokes and being out on the big stage."

There was more than just brutality to Zurhaar's performance, too, evidenced by his classy front-and-centre crumb, then expertly executed 35m pass to Jy Simpkin at the top of the goalsquare.

His effort came at the end of a drama-filled, emotion-charged week, with Brad Scott's almost 10-year tenure as coach ending and Rhyce Shaw taking over as the caretaker.

"He's been respected since he walked in the door at the start of pre-season and he's a great fella and a great coach," Zurhaar said of Shaw.

"He lifts the morale around the club, and everyone's happy to be around him. He's just a ripper fella and I can't speak highly enough of him.

"This is just a little stepping stone for us. We have to perform like this for the next 11 matches and I think that will hold us in good stead."