North recruit Atu Bosenavulagi has put his hand up for a senior call-up, following a string of impressive performances at VFL level.
Playing in Friday’s practice match against Footscray, Bosenavulagi blanketed AFL-listed Bulldog Mitch Wallis for much of the game.
Arriving at North as a forward, the former Magpie has spent the pre-season learning to play in defence, and VFL coach Leigh Adams believes it’s paying dividends.
“Atu is knocking on the door for a senior call-up, that’s for sure,” Adams told North Media.
“He struggled a bit early between finding that balance of getting the footy and defending, but he’s figuring that out really quickly.
“Last week he played on a couple of really nippy forwards and did a great job, then this week he did a great job locking down a very good player in Wallis.”
Dom Tyson was another to impress in a physical and heated contest, as the midfielder bounced back from his AFL omission.
Tyson was a constant scoring threat from midfield as he kicked three goals for the game, slotting straight back in as an on-field leader for the young side.
“(Tyson) played in a really quick game against Port Adelaide, and after not playing for a while he struggled a bit,” Adams said.
“He came into our side and played a really decent game of footy ... he’ll get some confidence out of that, and I think that’s what he needs.”
Following the 38-point loss to the Dogs, North are still winless this pre-season, however there are plenty of positive signs to enjoy as the season approaches.
“We’re still a relatively young team, so we just need to keep understanding when we need to take the game on and when we need to defend for our lives,” Adams said.
“Our blokes still need to learn when to grit through the tough times, and when the game isn’t on our terms it isn’t about us scoring, it’s about stopping the opposition from scoring.
“We ran out of legs in the second half … we’ll get better at it.”
The tough, physical nature of the game saw a number of North players receive treatment over the course of the match, however Adams says it doesn’t look like there are any lingering issues to any key players.
Tom Campbell, Tristan Xerri, Connor Menadue and Taylor Garner were all forced from the ground at different times, but all returned.
“TC (Tom Campbell), took a little bit more time because he had a concussion test, but he passed it well so came back on and played well,” Adams said.
“Both 'Garns' (Taylor Garner) and 'X' (Tristan Xerri) copped corks but they both seem to be OK.
“'Menners' (Connor Menadue) copped a big hit, but that looks like it was more his shoulder and he played out the game.
“A big positive to come out of the game is no new injuries. Hopefully the AFL boys can stay injury free and we can start to get a few back.”