After biding his time at VFL level, Tristan Xerri was finally given his opportunity in North Melbourne’s AFL side on Sunday, coming in for the Round 13 clash with GWS.

Stepping into an already young forward line, Xerri’s addition meant North’s starting forward group averaged under 38 games of experience each.

With Stephenson the most experienced of the group having played just 63 career games, Xerri says the exciting forward group is taking the onus of leadership on themselves.

“Not only is it a young group, but it’s being led by the young boys too,” Xerri told North Media.

“Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhaar, they were like the veterans up forward on the weekend and they’re only a year older than me.

“It was good to be out there with the boys again … it’s definitely a good group to be a part of."

02:39 Mins
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Tristan Xerri interview (June 16, 2021)

Fourth-year Kangaroo Tristan Xerri chats to North Media after his return to the senior side in Sunday's draw with GWS at Blundstone Arena.

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Primarily playing as a ruck while dominating the VFL, Xerri experienced a tweak of his role coming into the senior side, playing more forward and acting as the supporting ruckman to Todd Goldstein.

He impressed over the course of the game with some strong contested marks and exceptional ruck work, and he says his experience playing with Tom Campbell in the VFL has helped prepare him to play either role if needed.

“I’ve done a fair bit of forward work in the VFL for a few years … I’ve done a lot of hard work in the twos and in the off-season so it was good to be out there,” he said.

“This is a new year, new coach, new line coach … I’ve got to keep working by watching vision and listening to the coaches and players.

“I want to do a lot more … to get a go on the weekend was good … obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted but we played some decent footy I thought.”