Taylor Garner is pushing his case for an AFL recall after kicking two goals in North Melbourne’s VFL loss to Geelong on Sunday.

Garner was impressive all day as he kicked North’s first two majors of the contest and took a spectacular mark as he soared over the Geelong defence to set up his first of the day. The lively forward also collected 16 disposals for the game.

VFL coach Leigh Adams says it’s only a matter of time before Garner pushes his way back into the senior side, but patience is key for the 27-year-old.

“He’s played three full games now. He looks to be covering the ground really well and he’s in good form at the moment, so now it’s more about him consistently doing it in the VFL until an opportunity comes up to play seniors,” Adams told North Media.

“He played a good full game this week. He was good in patches last week, but today was probably the best full game I’ve seen him play.

“With 'Garns' we know it’s always been about his body and his conditioning. He’s at a good stage now … hopefully he can build on that next week.”

Garner said he was happy to have had an impact.

“I’ve got two full games under my belt now anytime the coach wants to play me I’ll put my hand up,” he said.

“I feel like I’m building that match fitness and it’s only going to get better from here.”

Tristan Xerri once again took on the primary ruck role and once again impressed, finishing with 23 hit-outs, 17 disposals, 6 marks and a goal.

Xerri has stood out at times in the absence of ruck partner Tom Campbell, and Adams says if this vein of form continues then he’ll be banging the door down for a senior opportunity, sooner rather than later.

“Clearly the AFL side are playing with two rucks at the moment so it’s good he’s really putting pressure on in that position,” Adams said.

“There’s definitely an opportunity for him, he just needs to consistently play like he has the last couple of weeks until that opportunity comes up.

“He’s played two really good ones in a row. I’m not sure how many it’s going to take before he gets a game, but two is a very good start.”

VFL-listed Mathew Walker finished the game as North’s leading goal-kicker with 3 goals from 6 scoring shots.

Walker kicked 2 goals and 2 behinds in just the final quarter, and Adams says he is looking for the forward to have a more sustained impact on games in the future.

“He’s a funny one Matty, at times you don’t really notice him out there, but in that last quarter he just had that unbelievable burst,” Adams said.

“He’s clearly a crafty forward and he clearly knows how to find the ball and kick goals.

“We just need to try and get him to have more impact over four quarters, but his little spells of impact he can have on games are unbelievable.”

North will be looking to rectify this weekend’s loss as it takes on Frankston in round two.

The Dolphins eased over the line against Coburg to the tune of 30 points, as forward Josh Begley impressed with 6 goals.

There are a lot of learning experiences to be taken out of the Geelong clash, according to Adams, who is already looking forward to bouncing back.

“It’ll be a good learning week I think, Geelong are clearly a very good team when they play at home,” he said.

“We got smacked around the footy a bit today in terms of clearances and contested possessions, so we need to have a look at why that happened, whether it was work rate, method or a mixture of both.

“We’ve got another big challenge coming up against Frankston who looked really good when they played on Friday.”

North Melbourne 6.8.44
Geelong 18.15.123

AFL-listed players

Dom Tyson (28 disposals)
Connor Menadue (20 disposals)
Matt McGuiness (17 disposals, 6 marks)
Will Walker (17 disposals, 6 marks)
Tristan Xerri (17 disposals, 6 marks, 1 goal, 23 hit-outs)
Taylor Garner (16 disposals, 7 marks, 2 goals)
Eddie Ford (13 disposals)
Phoenix Spicer (6 disposals)