Todd Goldstein Photo- North Media (Nmfc.com.au)

After a disappointing 2020 season, North Melbourne will look to bounce back in season 2021 under new coach David Noble.

Last Year

17th – 3 wins and 14 losses 71.2% 

North Melbourne’s season was disappointing, to say the least, after showing promising signs the year prior the roos just couldn’t capitalise on opportunities when handed to them.

North Melbourne showed promising signs early, winning its first two games against St Kilda and GWS respectively.

Although the momentum of the season shifted post Round 2, only winning one more game for the season against the eventual wooden spooners in the Crows.

It was a disappointing season to say the least, after showing promising signs the year prior.

Track Watch

Star recruit Jaidyn Stephenson has had a great start to his career down at Arden Street, with the former Magpie showing promising signs on the track. With a more permanent move into the midfield on the cards.

Fellow midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke has also impressed many over the preseason, especially during match simulation, after there being a massive gap in the midfield left by outgoing midfielder Shaun Higgins, Davies-Uniacke is shaping up to be fit and firing to go to fill that void come round one.

Out of the 2020 draftees Geelong Falcons alumni Charlie Lazzaro has impressed on the track and during the clubs’ practice matches. With his delivery into the forward 50.

What to look forward too

Speed…and lots of it.

The one shared quality among the players that North Melbourne recruited over the offseason was speed.

With the likes of Atu Bosenvulagi and Eddie Ford bringing that speed into the forward 50, while Stephenson can provide that burst out of the stoppage.

While they might be rebuilding, the depth of young talent that this North Melbourne side possesses, with the likes of Tarryn Thomas already showing promising signs in the past few seasons.

2021 looks to be the year that Thomas has a breakout role and stands up to help his side rise up the ladder.

First round draft pick Will Phillips is ready to make his mark on the game and shows qualities to a young Joel Selwood with his leadership qualities both on and off the field.

Its a big year for?

Ben Cunnington. We all know what he can do at his best, but we didn’t see much of that in 2020. After several injury setbacks, with a horrid back injury restricting the star midfielder to only 3 games last season.

Cunnington was far from his best, looking slow and his back issues seemed to be giving him grief, especially in the match against the Bulldogs.

A fit and firing Ben Cunnington is something that the Kangaroos need, especially with the amount of experience that has left the club during the offseason.

Biggest unanswered question?

Are they too inexperienced?

The future looks extremely bright for North Melbourne, but in terms of the present, do the roos have enough on-field experience and leadership to help navigate and inspire when the going gets tough?

With past leaders of the club such as Brown (Melbourne) and Higgins (Geelong) leaving the club, there is a massive void. Combined, the pair have 367 games of experience and leave a big hole in a team crying out for experience.

It’s still uncertain if North Melbourne has players that can step up to fill the voids left by Higgins and Brown, especially in that forward line.

Coach pressure index

Very Low

There is never an overwhelming sense of pressure for a new coach. David Noble has seemed to hit the ground running and started to experiment and make his mark on the North Melbourne side to help slowly build and develop and then push for finals in time.

Although the club does expect that it can push for finals over the next few years

Ins: Atu Bosenavulagi (Collingwood), Aidan Corr (GWS), Eddie Ford (Western Jets), Charlie Lazzaro (Draft/Geelong Falcons), Connor Menadue (Rookie Draft/Werribee), Phoenix Spicer (Draft/South Adelaide), Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood), Will Phillips (Draft/Oakleigh Chargers), Tom Powell (Draft/Sturt), Lachie Young (Western Bulldogs)

Outs: Paul Ahern (delisted), Ben Brown (Melbourne), Joel Crocker (Delisted), Majak Daw (delisted), Ben Jacobs (delisted), Sam Durdin (delisted), Shaun Higgins (Geelong), Lachie Hosie (delisted), Jamie Macmillan (delisted), Tom Murphy (Delisted), Jasper Pittard (delisted), Ed Vickers-Willis (delisted), Marley Williams (delisted), Mason Wood (delisted/St Kilda)

Predicted round 1 line-up

B- Luke McDonald – Robbie Tarrant – Shaun Atley

HB- Jack Ziebell – Aidan Corr – Ben McKay  

C- Jaidyn Stephenson – Luke Davies-Uniacke – Jared Polec

HF- Cameron Zurhaar – Josh Walker – Tarryn Thomas

F- Taylor Garner – Nick Larkey – Aaron Hall

R- Todd Goldstein – Dom Tyson – Jy Simpkin

Int- Charlie Lazzaro – Flynn Perez – Curtis Taylor – Ben Cunnington

Ladder range


Although there are some promising signs when it comes to North Melbourne and the depth it has of young talent there still seems to be this big cloud of uncertainty, especially with the massive list turnaround that happened over the offseason.

In the present, North Melbourne’s lack of experience means it is a few years off from challenging for finals.

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1 thought on “AFL 2021 Season Preview: North Melbourne

  1. A balanced, honest, objective and realistic article. Not promising miracles, but managing expectations. I’m assuming players like Anderson, Scott, Dumont, and Turner are injured.
    As a 50 year member, I’m confident that the club has taken the right direction and decisions to return us to the success we crave.

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