Throughout the highs and lows of this young VFL season so far, there has been one constant for North Melbourne. The incredible form of Tristan Xerri.
Xerri has been pressing his claim for an AFL recall all season, with his performances seeing his name consistently thrown in amongst the competition's best, despite the patchy form of his own side.
North’s first win of the VFL season just so happened to coincide with Xerri’s best performance, with the man known affectionately as “Big X” absolutely stuffing the stats sheet.
In Saturday’s 15-point victory over Essendon, Xerri gathered a game-high 35 disposals and 9 marks, while finishing with 27 hitouts as he continues his rapid improvement as the side’s number one ruck.
Perhaps most impressive thing about his performance is he finished with 30 contested possessions, more than any other player in the VFL since 2011.
Xerri says while he appreciates the recognition for his strong form, it’s not his primary focus when he runs out every week.
“We play to win, and if my performance can help that happen, I’m doing my job,” he told North Media.
“We’ve had our fair share of injuries and struggles this year … so to come out today and not just respond but get a good win is just unbelievable.
“Essendon are one of our biggest rivals in the AFL and that carries down into the VFL as well … it just makes it sweeter that the win came against them.”
With North’s AFL, VFL and VFLW all registering important wins over the last week, the rhetoric surrounding the club has undoubtedly improved.
Xerri says everyone at the club feeds off of the success of anyone who pulls on the royal blue and white, and he’s excited for the future of the club across all levels.
“The more wins we get, the better … [all of our] teams have had their struggles this year, and this is just another big tick to add to the board,” he said.
“You can see the growth through the whole footy club at the moment.
“We’re on an upwards trajectory at the moment, and if we keep this up we can really be a dangerous force sooner rather than later.”
North Melbourne 12.13.85