All the key information you need to know about the North Melbourne team, ahead of the 2021 season.
Coach: David Noble
Captain: Jack Ziebell
Vice-captains: Luke McDonald and Jy Simpkin
2020 best and fairest winner: Luke McDonald
1 - Jack Mahony
2 - Jaidyn Stephenson
3 - Jed Anderson
4 - Aidan Corr
5 - Curtis Taylor
6 - Taylor Garner
7 - Jack Ziebell
8 - Bailey Scott
9 - Luke Davies-Uniacke
10 - Ben Cunnington
11 - Luke McDonald
12 - Jy Simpkin
13 - Jared Polec
14 - Trent Dumont
15 - Atu Bosenavulagi
16 - Aiden Bonar
17 - Lachie Young
18 - Shaun Atley
19 - Josh Walker
20 - Nick Larkey
21 - Dom Tyson
22 - Todd Goldstein
23 - Ben McKay
24 - Tom Powell
25 - Robbie Tarrant
26 - Tarryn Thomas
27 - Will Walker
28 - Kayne Turner
29 - Will Phillips
30 - Charlie Comben
31 - Connor Menadue
33 - Patrick Walker
35 - Charlie Lazzaro
36 - Phoenix Spicer
37 - Kyron Hayden
38 - Tristan Xerri
39 - Flynn Perez
40 - Eddie Ford
41 - Matthew McGuinness
42 - Tom Campbell
43 - Aaron Hall
44 - Cameron Zurhaar
David Noble (senior coach), John Blakey (senior assistance - defence), Heath Younie (assistant - forwards), Jordan Russell (assistant - midfield), Gavin Brown (head of development), Leigh Adams (development/VFL), Brent Harvey (1-2 year mentor), Anthony Rocca (development - ruck/talls)
2020 in a nutshell
After season ending injuries to Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell and Ben Brown, North only won one of its last 15 games en route to a 17th-placed finish. Young players were afforded opportunities to impress, with the likes of Jy Simpkin and Nick Larkey thriving in on-field leadership opportunities.
The exposure of youth was the biggest success to come out of the season as Cameron Zurhaar finished as the club’s leading goal-kicker, while the continued development of the likes of Ben McKay, Bailey Scott, Kyron Hayden and Curtis Taylor was positive. North flattered to deceive at times and suffered a number of close losses across the season, but despite the frustrating nature of the season, there were still good signs for the future.
Atu Bosenavulagi, Aidan Corr, Eddie Ford, Charlie Lazzaro, Connor Menadue, Will Phillips, Tom Powell, Phoenix Spicer, Jaidyn Stephenson, Patrick Walker, Lachie Young
Paul Ahern, Ben Brown, Joel Crocker, Majak Daw, Sam Durdin, Shaun Higgins, Ben Jacobs, Jamie MacMillan, Tom Murphy, Jasper Pittard, Marley Williams, Mason Wood
(as at March 10)
Jed Anderson - Calf (Test)
Aiden Bonar - Calf (Test)
Charlie Comben - Leg (TBC)
Ben Cunnington - Concussion (TBC)
Trent Dumont - Calf (TBC)
Aaron Hall - Adductor (1 week)
Matt McGuinness - Finger (Test)
Flynn Perez - Hamstring (TBC)
Jared Polec - Hamstring (Test)
Robbie Tarrant - Adductor (1 week)
Tristan Xerri - Groin (Test)
(Times and dates to be confirmed post Round 6)
Round 1: Port Adelaide, Sunday March 21, 1:10pm at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 2: Gold Coast Suns, Saturday March 27, 8:10pm at Metricon Stadium [Away]
Round 3: Western Bulldogs, Friday April 2, 4:20pm at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 4: Adelaide Crows, Sunday April 11, 1:10pm at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 5: Geelong Cats, Sunday April 18, 4:40pm at GMHBA Stadium [Away]
Round 6: Fremantle, Saturday April 24, 8:10pm at Optus Stadium [Away]
Round 7: Melbourne at Blundstone Arena [Home]
Round 8: Collingwood at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 9: Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium [Away]
Round 10: Essendon at Marvel Stadium [Away]
Round 11: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium [Away]
Round 12: BYE
Round 13: GWS Giants at Blundstone Arena [Home]
Round 14: Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 15: Gold Coast Suns at Blundstone Arena [Home]
Round 16: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium [Away]
Round 17: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium [Away]
Round 18: Essendon at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 19: Carlton at Marvel Stadium [Away]
Round 20: Geelong Cats at Blundstone Arena [Home]
Round 21: Richmond at MCG [Away]
Round 22: Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium [Home]
Round 23: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval [Away]
Games to look forward to
Round 3 vs Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium
North Melbourne fought hard for years for Good Friday footy, and it looks like it’s here to stay. With the Western Bulldogs once again the opponents, North will be looking to put on a show for a roaring Easter crowd.
Round 7 vs Melbourne at Blundstone Arena
The first of four games in home games in Tasmania in 2021, North will look to extend its incredible run of form in the island state as they take on the Demons. This clash may also have the added dimension of being the first time Ben Brown and Majak Daw suit up against their old club. A vocal Hobart crowd could remind them just what they’re missing at North, and spur the boys in blue and white on to victory.
Round 10 vs Essendon at Marvel Stadium
The first look at the old enemy for the season and a win in front of a packed crowd would do wonders for the confidence of this North side. Getting a victory over the Bombers is always a welcome addition to the season.
Round 21 vs Richmond at MCG
It's unfortunately North’s only game at the MCG this season, but a big clash against the reigning premiers. Richmond has made the MCG an absolute fortress during their dynasty, but a determined and plucky North Melbourne side could silence a raucous home crowd and disrupt the Tigers’ potential finals preparations with a big win.
Players to watch
With Jy Simpkin experiencing something of a breakout year in 2020, could Luke Davies-Uniacke do the same in 2021? Poorly timed injuries have seen 'LDU' struggle to gain momentum in his career so far, but he has shown flashes of brilliance running through the middle of the ground. The former number four pick has had a strong pre-season in 2021 and turned heads in the AAMI Community Series clash against Hawthorn, as he collected 21 disposals and kicked a goal. He'll be hoping to take that form into round one.
New draftee Tom Powell has been arguably the pick of the rookies this pre-season, with his ability to find the football in the contest looking second to none. The top ball-winner in his draft class, Powell averaged over 35 disposals a game at under 18’s level and looks to have had little trouble bringing those quick, clean hands to AFL level. Despite North being well stocked in inside midfielders, the number 13 draft pick should not find opportunities at senior level too hard to come by early in the season.
With injuries limiting Ben Brown to just nine games in 2020, Nick Larkey gained some experience as the main marking target inside fifty. With Brown now a member of the Demons, Larkey has had a full pre-season to work on being the main man up forward.
With a brilliant pair of hands and a tough marking opponent, Larkey will be looking to have a breakout year as the leader in North’s front six.
As North’s biggest acquisition this off-season, there's plenty of excitement around Jaidyn Stephenson. The former NAB Rising Star spent most of his Collingwood career as a forward, but looks to have transitioned into North’s midfield. With a plethora of options in that inside midfield position that Stephenson craves so much, it’s up to him to prove himself in a new role.
Captain Jack Ziebell has spent the majority of his career either in the midfield or forward line, but a much-publicised move into the back six is on the cards for 2021. With a raft of experience already back there, Ziebell’s leadership may be missed further up the ground, but with the likes of Jed Anderson and Ben Cunnington running through the midfield, the skipper’s effective ball usage will be critical in starting attacks from the back half.