Three North Melbourne draftees are set to be in action against St Kilda on Thursday.
Coach David Noble confirmed Tom Powell, Charlie Lazzaro and Eddie Ford would line up in the practice match, while the likes of Jaidyn Stephenson, Connor Menadue, Atu Bosenavulagi and Lachie Young will no doubt be putting their hands up for selection.
Will Phillips will miss the Roos’ first competitive hit-out, with Noble confident would be in the mix against Hawthorn in a fortnight.
“There’s a fair bit of competition in that midfield, so we’ve been working on a few things with Will, but we're really happy with where he’s at,” Noble said.
Powell (pick 13) and Lazzaro (pick 36) are natural on-ballers and likely to spend time through the middle, while Ford (pick 56) has been impressive as a lively half-forward during the pre-season.
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The Roos will be without Ben Cunnington (concussion) and Todd Goldstein (ribs), with the pair set for a return during the AAMI Community Series.
“It’s (head knocks) a lot more complicated than what it was previously, so there’s a few more avenues that we need to go through to get guys to play again,” Noble said of Cunnington.
“We just need to take our time in getting Ben through that.
“He’s in good shape; his back’s great, he’s done plenty of work through the pre-season and we are really happy where he is. We’ve just got to go through the process.
“He should be right for Hawthorn.”
Noble said North fans are to set enjoy a more attacking game-plan in 2021.
“We’ve said publicly we want to attack, we want to score, we want to kick goals,” he said.
“It’s a territory game too, so we need to be able to defend and be accountable at times, but we’d like to think that from our side of things, the things we’ve reviewed, it’s going to be different.
“We’re hoping that we can start to evolve that tomorrow against some quality opposition.”
It all starts on Thursday at midday.
“We’ve got players in different spots, we’ve got a different game style, playing against a pretty fair opponent that played finals last year, so it’s a really good test for us to see the elements of our game we’ve tried to put in during a condensed pre-season,” Noble added.
“We are hopeful of seeing some really positive signs from our group.”
The match will be live streamed on NMFC.com.au and the club’s app from 12pm AEDT on Thursday.
Please note: The game is not open to public attendance.