North Melbourne coach David Noble says a number of key players are vying for round one selection, after overcoming pre-season niggles.

Ben Cunnington, Trent Dumont, Jared Polec and Jed Anderson are just a few high-profile names who have been recovering from injuries over the last few weeks.

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Noble said despite some strong performances in training, the club’s medical staff will be taking a cautious approach to the players’ reintegration into the squad.

“We’ve changed the philosophy in our conditioning, the high-performance guys have made a great shift in that area,” he said on SEN SA. 

“There’s probably three or four players who are genuinely in the mix … (Ben) Cunnington is progressing really well, and (Jared) Polec and (Jed) Anderson are right in the mix.

“(Trent) Dumont had a bit of a relapse with his calf, but he’s training again now … there’s really nothing that’s long term.

“We’ve got to get them up and running so we don’t expose them too early.”

Noble said despite the disappointment that comes with players getting injured, the silver lining is the opportunity it affords some of the club’s younger players.

With a number of senior players missing across both pre-season games, several different faces stepped up to claim responsibility.

Tom Powell and Charlie Lazzaro impressed against St Kilda, while fans got their first look at Phoenix Spicer and Will Phillips against Hawthorn.

“The young talent, speed and growth in our group is really exciting,” Noble said.

“It allows us to … take a look at those guys and see where they’re positioned in the overall heat of AFL battle.”

With his first pre-season as a senior coach almost in the books, Noble says he is bullish about the club’s future prospects.

“The way the group overall has responded to what’s been put in place … it’s been great,” he said.

“The club made a really strong stance with the way they shaped their list management at the end of last season.

“When you take over a group you need to understand them … to work out who can come on the journey long term.”