Defender Ben Jacobs is confident he will be able to reap the benefits of undertaking a pre-season training program with North’s defensive group.

Despite completing a full pre-season last year, the 23-year-old spent little to no time with the backs in the lead-up to the 2014 season.

Jacobs, who began last season playing in the midfield before drifting across half-back after a two-month stint in the VFL, said his preparation has changed this year.

“I’ve always trained as a midfielder whereas this year I’ve trained as a half-back and played at half-back,” Jacobs told on Wednesday.

“I’m just trying to grow that role that I’ve been given and I’ve been able to do that with a pre-season in that position.”

Now in his fifth year in the AFL system – and third year at Arden Street – Jacobs said he is aiming to solidify a spot across half-back, especially after having tasted footy in North’s defensive half.

“I’ve done a whole pre-season in the backline and it’s given me some good confidence to know what I’ve got to do for the team down there,” he said.

“I’m fighting to hold down a spot there, that’s my goal to try and play a full season – that’s my big challenge this year.”

In the club’s first competitive match of the year against Adelaide last Sunday, the 185cm backman featured solely across the half-back line, gathering 16 disposals (12 kicks, four handballs) and three tackles.

“Hopefully I can play on a diverse range of players this year – tall and small – and back myself in one-on-one contests,” Jacobs said.

“And then try and provide a bit of penetration off the backline with some long kicking and powerful runs.”

While the number five said there’s no particular player he turns to for advice, defensive coach Josh Drummond has been an important figure in his development this pre-season campaign.

“I’m able to talk pretty openly with him. He’s been amazing for me this year and someone I don’t feel like I can worry about saying anything to,” he said.

“He gives me clear direction of what he wants from me and he wants me to keep it simple out there.”