With the bye now firmly in the rear-view mirror, North Melbourne is gearing up for what is hopefully a successful second half of its 2021 campaign.
With the new players and coaches firmly bedded in, mid-season draftees Jacob Edwards and Charlie Ham on board, and David Noble’s game plan becoming more streamlined every week, the immediate future is bright.
Noble says the time taken to firmly entrench the way he wants his side to play will hopefully pay dividends over the second half of the season.
“The key thing is to make sure the players have clarity on where we’re going, particularly from a game plan perspective,” Noble said.
“I’d hope if you ask any of our players they’ve got a clear understanding of what’s required. The standards we’re pushing internally aren’t going to deviate one bit … we’re always chasing success.
“From that side of things, it’s taking those learnings and continuing to push hard in regards to those internal wins, and hopefully they correlate into more wins at the back end of the season.”
Ben McKay, Will Phillips and Charlie Lazzaro are just three players who have bought into the ethos surrounding the team, with all three players agreeing to new deals to keep them at the club for the foreseeable future.
McKay has signed on until the end of 2023, while Phillips and Lazzaro have committed to until the end of 2024.
Noble says such a strong commitment from three of the club’s young stars means more to the club’s staff than meets the eye.
“They’ve given us a tick of approval internally, they’re really comfortable with what we’re doing, they understand what we’re doing, they feel like they’re getting better,” Noble said.
“To have the backing of those young guys coming through, they’re confident with where we’re going, that’s the pleasing thing.
“To have those young guys show those signs of confidence in the football club is extremely exciting … I think our fans can see where we’re going and the journey that we’re on.”
North returns to Blundstone this weekend to take on GWS, and despite the Covid restrictions surrounding the travelling North side fans will still be in attendance.
After playing in front of an empty Marvel Stadium in Round 11, Noble says he’s looking forward to the opportunity to once again play in front of the North faithful.
“We love playing down there, we’ve got an opportunity to get our fans to a game. We weren’t able to do that for our last game at Marvel so it’s a great opportunity for our fans and members to come to the ground,” Noble said.
“[GWS is] a tough opponent, the last six weeks they’ve been right up there in how Leon (Cameron) has got them playing.
“We’re certainly aware of how they play and the strengths they bring to the game, we’ve got to try and deny some of those and bring our own strengths.”
With Round 13 representing the celebrations for Big Freeze 7, Noble has urged fans to get on board and support the cause.
The now traditional Big Freeze is part of Fight MND’s efforts to find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease, spearheaded by former Essendon player and Melbourne coach Neale Daniher.
“Make sure you support the Big Freeze too, buy your beanie. I was lucky enough to get a chance to spend some time with Fages (Chris Fagan) who’s a big mate of Neale (Daniher),” he said.
“To hear the manner in how he’s gone about this challenge, he’s an unbelievable character and what he’s doing for this [cause] long-term is just unbelievable.
“If you can buy a beanie and support it’s an unbelievably great cause.”