Having Jed Anderson back on the football field was a sight for sore North Melbourne eyes on Sunday, with the number three gaining some much-needed match sharpness at VFL level.

Playing limited minutes against Footscray, the clash was Anderson’s first since injuring his ankle against the Western Bulldogs in Round 3, with the midfielder undergoing surgery to repair the issue.

Finishing with 8 disposals and 6 clearances in a half of football, Anderson shook off any signs of rust early in the contest and showed his trademark inside grit throughout.

“I was excited to come back. It’s been a long journey in rehab but to get out there today was a massive step forward in my progress,” Anderson told North Media.

“I’ve done a good block of rehab and the game time today was a big step in me getting more comfortable out there with the ankle.

“I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do and I’ve ticked all the boxes in rehab … it was awesome to be back out there having a run around.”

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After overcoming a pre-season calf injury, Anderson worked his way back into the side for the Round 2 clash with Gold Coast where he finished with a career-high 14 tackles.

With such a long block of rehab completed to come back from the calf issue, suffering such a bad ankle injury in just his second game back could have been disheartening for the midfielder.

“Injuries are unfortunately part of playing footy, then it becomes all about how you overcome those problems and how you come back,” Anderson said.

“That’s where your mind has to be at, just to do everything right and get your body back in top condition to the best of your ability.

“I’m really happy with where my body is at right now and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”

When fit and firing, Anderson is one of North’s most experienced leaders in the senior side, often taking games by the scruff of the neck and leading by example.

With North’s VFL side full of young, exciting talent, he says playing with a new group of players offered some exciting and different challenges.

“When I went down to captain’s run on Saturday there were a lot of faces I hadn’t met. Just getting to know the boys was good,” Anderson added.

“I wanted to help them around the stoppages with my voice and help get them in the right positions, to take ownership as a leader and feed them the ball.

“They are very young, and as an older bloke you want to get them involved. Since it was my first minutes back in, I just wanted to feel comfortable and get them in the game as well.”