After a quick excursion to Brisbane, North Melbourne is back home in Victoria and preparing to take on Carlton this weekend.
There were flashes of brilliance and periods of sustained pressure against Essendon, however it wasn’t enough as North failed to get over the line against its old rivals.
With a host of senior faces lining up for a return, David Noble and the match committee could look to move the magnets for the Carlton clash as North goes in search of its third win in five games.
North Media takes a look at who is in the mix.
After not travelling to Brisbane, Ben Cunnington is in line to make a return to midfield, with the veteran’s presence sorely missed against the Bombers.
Averaging 26.8 disposals per contest and ranking third in the AFL for clearances per game, the master midfielder is putting together one of his career-best seasons in 2021.
Jed Anderson could be joining Cunnington for his first senior game since Round 3, as the 27-year-old looks to return from an ankle injury suffered against the Western Bulldogs.
Anderson has been stringing along some solid minutes at reserve level, and fitness allowing, would be a combative addition to the midfield.
After being named as medical substitute in Round 16, Eddie Ford could look to make the next step in his career and be named in North’s starting 22 this weekend.
The young forward has impressed and improved at VFL level over the course of 2021, and could be rewarded for his efforts.
Fresh off of signing a new two-year extension, Aiden Bonar would look to repay the faith shown in him with a return from an ankle injury, if he’s selected.
Playing full game time in last week’s scratch match, the midfielder-turned-defender was impressive in the back half of the ground at the start of the season, before the injury halted his progress.
After being a late exclusion from the Round 16 side to take on the Western Bulldogs, Kyron Hayden is ready to put his hand up for senior selection once again.
The young defender has played three games in 2021 and will be looking to put his hamstring issues behind him for the remainder of the season.
Lachie Young could be in line for a recall after a strong showing in the scratch match last weekend, impressing with his pace in the wide areas of the ground.
Consistently a dominant force at VFL level, Tom Campbell could return to bolster North’s tall stocks against the Blues, capably filling both forward and ruck roles.
Jared Polec has been increasing his minutes at VFL level and would be an experienced addition in the wide areas of the ground.
Patrick Walker is also in the mix make the step up from emergency, with the versatile half back/wing’s impressive distribution an asset to any side.
Charlie Comben kicked four goals in his first game in 17 months last week and registered 7 scoring shots in just a half of football, but is likely to spend a couple of extra weeks getting valuable game time under his belt.