It’s no secret North Melbourne is developing a core of exciting talent as part of its rebuild, and because of the bond the youngsters are forming, Tom Powell has agreed to a new two-year contract extension.
The deal will see the fresh-faced ball magnet in the royal blue and white stripes until at least the end of 2024.
His signature follows the signings of Ben McKay, Will Phillips and Charlie Lazzaro in the past week.
“I'm super excited … The other boys signing sort of gave me a kick in the backside and I'm really excited to be on board with them and I can see the future at the club,” Powell told North Media.
“We all have been through everything together since we got to the club, so we know each other really well.
“It's good to have a few players that are similar age to you that have been through everything together so we’ll be a really tight knit group for years to come, hopefully, and I'm sure the other boys will get the opportunity to sign on at some point and we can stay together for as long as possible.”
Drafted to the Kangaroos with pick 13 in last year’s draft, Powell has had an immediate impact. He has played all 12 games so far averaging 17 disposals and 4 tackles per game.
In his debut against Port Adelaide he collected 19 disposals and a goal. Another standout performance came in Round 6 against Fremantle with 25 disposals, eight marks and three tackles, and he backed it up in Round 7 against Melbourne with 23 disposals, one goal and six tackles.
The exciting midfielder said he is focusing on improving each week.
“I'm quite pleased with how I've started the year. I'm trying to take it one game at a time and just worry about playing my role and doing what I can for the team each week and the rest will sort of take care of itself,” Powell said.
“We'll just try and keep winning and keep building as a club and creating the great culture and building on what we've already got here at North, which is something that really excites me.
“We are showing a few highlights and glimpses of what we can do for portions of games and once we string it all together later on this year or even in the future, I'm sure we’ll be really hard team to stop.
“I'd love to play finals at some point … I'm not sure how far away that is, but we can sense that there'll be a tipping point soon of where we start to string a fair few wins together and I'm really looking forward to that.”
Powell said the draftees have naturally drifted towards a few of the senior figures.
“The whole midfield group; all the senior boys like Cunners [Ben Cunnington], Jy [Simpkin], Trent Dumont … they've all been really good at helping us younger players in the midfield, understand our role, go through extra vision in meetings, put on a bit of extra work out on the track … they've been really good with that,” he said.
“Coming into an AFL environment, everyone's super friendly and welcoming and it's obviously super professional and there's a lot of behind the scenes work that the coaches do and us players do.
“Everyone at the club has a role, there is a lot more work to it than meets the eye so coming into the club there's a lot of work, yeah, but it's really enjoyable and you can reap the rewards when you get a win or go out there and play with your mates every weekend.”
Being a first year player, Powell said he is developing his strength, reaction time and decision making.
“Definitely my size, still, I know that was something I was trying to work on throughout the year, and it's still in progress, [I] spend a bit more time in the gym to fix that,” Powell added.
“I think my reaction time on the field as well, something that I've got to increase and work on a bit … the other midfielders and the other players they're super quick with how quickly they react and the decision making, so trying to keep up with that.
“Off field, is just making sure that I recover well and prepare well for each game because having to back it up gets a bit taxing on your body so staying professional with that will hold me in good stead.”
North list manager, Glenn Luff, said Powell’s clean hands, efficiency, game awareness and skill level make him one of the best young players to have come through the system at Arden St.
“We couldn’t be more impressed with Tom and what he’s been able to achieve in the first half of the season,” Luff said.
“His ability to adapt to the speed and demands of the game in his first year has been really impressive.
“He’s calm and composed under pressure and really effective with the ball in hand, despite playing on much bigger bodied opponents. With more time in the midfield, we’re excited to see what he can do in the coming seasons.
“In the last week we’ve had Will Phillips, Charlie Lazzaro and now Tom sign until 2024. We’re all excited at the club to watch this group grow something really special together.”