Losing senior players to injury always hurts, and it’s a pain North Melbourne has become accustomed to in 2021, but the absence of your reigning best and fairest winner has the potential to hurt just a little bit more.

After returning from a quad injury in Round 4, Luke McDonald suffered a pectoral injury in just his first quarter of senior football for the year, but he’s back fit, firing and ready to bolster North’s defensive stocks.

David Noble says McDonald is every chance to play this weekend against Brisbane after recovering from the long-term injury.

“Our plan is that if Luke gets through training this week he’ll be back in,” Noble said.

“Luke’s worked his backside off to get to a point where we could get clarity form the surgeons last week.

“His loads are really good … our expectation is he comes back into the team.”

12:19 Mins
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David Noble media conference (June 17, 2021)

David Noble speaks with the media ahead of our Round 14 clash with Brisbane.

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McDonald’s return will signify the second Syd Barker Medallist to return to the side in two weeks, with key-defender Robbie Tarrant making his return in Round 13’s clash with GWS.

After working through groin and kidney issues, Tarrant played his first game for the season last weekend and Noble says he’s pulled up well.

“His (Tarrant) recovery was good, I think he was generally sore. It’s been a while since he’s played at that level of intensity and for that length of time,” he said.

“Robbie is a total pro, he didn’t have that VFL game but we created some work internally that replicated probably three quarters of a VFL game.

“We were really confident about him going in with the right loads.”