After forging a solid reputation as a pressure forward at AFL level, Kayne Turner has reinvented himself under David Noble.
North Melbourne’s new utility man, Turner has taken some high-profile scalps during his time in midfield and defence, often being sent to the opposition’s most dangerous player.
Against Brisbane in Round 14, Charlie Cameron was quickly earmarked as the player to watch, with the 2019 All-Australian coming into the game in hot form.
Across the contest, Turner spent 110 minutes as Cameron’s direct opponent, restricting him to just five disposals – all contested.
GWS danger man Toby Greene made his long-awaited return from a shoulder injury in Round 13 against North, and Turner had to contest with a fit, firing and ferocious forward danger man.
While also spending time on Bobby Hill, Turner spent 84 minutes locking horns with Greene, one of the most dangerous players in the competition.
Out of their battle the Giants’ number four emerged with the ball just 11 times, seven of them contested.
Even two weeks prior to that as North took on Essendon, Turner was tasked with silencing Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, a task many defenders AFL wide have tried and failed over the years.
In the 94 minutes Turner spent on ‘Tippa’, the Essendon goal-sneak was restricted to just 10 disposals.
A key hallmark of Turner’s game throughout his AFL career has been the elite mentality and intensity he brings to the game, a mentality that translates well to his new lockdown role.
Elected into the leadership group this season, the 25-year-old is a leader by example, and forward coach Heath Younie says Turner trains exactly the way he plays.
“Kayne Turner … puts it all out there, I think he trains with great intent,” Younie told North Media, during a recent Member Q & A.
“I think he wants to be good, and because of that he’s able to go out and play with that level of intent.
“For me to see firsthand of how he goes about training, he’s impressed me from day dot.”
With many of Turner’s marking tasks taking him into the defence, North defensive coach John Blakey has kept a close eye on Turner’s performances and his development.
A 359 game veteran with North and Fitzroy, Blakey won two AFL premierships and is well aware of what it takes to forge a strong career at the highest level.
He says the selflessness Turner has injected into his game is a great example to the younger players on the list.
“One week we’ve got him (Turner) playing as a pressure forward, next week we’ve got him playing as a shutdown mid and the following week we’ve got him playing as a shutdown defender,” Russell said.
“His ability to just take those roles on … get those roles competed and win those roles has been absolutely first class this year.
“[He] is a selfless player that is absolutely willing to do whatever job is asked of him for the better of the team.”