15/04/2024

Callum Coleman-Jones leaps in the ruck against Richmond. (Photo: AFL)

North Melbourne ruck Callum Coleman-Jones has another big opportunity to test himself this weekend against Hawthorn's in-form ruck duo.

Young North Melbourne ruck Callum Coleman-Jones has spent most of the 2022 season toiling away in the twos.

He made the move from Richmond to his new side last trade period, but hasn’t yet received much opportunity at AFL level.

Though the weekend’s win against his old teammates was just his sixth game in royal blue and white, his hunger to perform was evident.

Facing no certain easy-beat in premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis, the 23-year-old made the most of his seven hitouts. 18 disposals, five tackles, five marks, four clearances and three inside 50s paint a clear picture of improvement.

Learning his craft under veteran Todd Goldstein, interim coach Leigh Adams has been impressed after watching Coleman-Jones grow in the VFL.

“He’s a competitor, Cal, that’s what we want to see from him. He competed on the weekend,” Adams said.

“Don’t forget about the old boy too, he’s in some pretty good form Goldy. He [Coleman-Jones] keeps getting better each week.”

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The pair face a daunting task in the in-form Hawthorn pair Ned Reeves and Ben McEvoy. Coming off an equal career-best 39 hit outs, the young Reeves will be a formidable foe.

He’s also gaining plenty of consistency, having played the last six games straight and shouldering the load in anticipation of McEvoy’s return.

But the North Melbourne coach is backing in his young charge’s effort.

“As good of form as the opposition are in, we’re pretty happy the way our ruck division is going too,” Adams said.

Rewarding the effort of players like Coleman-Jones looks to be Adams’ modus operandi for the five remaining weeks he’s in charge.

While the coach is more than eager to put his hand up for consideration for the head role permanently, he can only focus on the now for the rest of 2022.

Players like Luke Davies-Uniacke, Bailey Scott and Curtis Taylor will continue to get the chance to improve their games in their best positions.

“This week will probably be different to the weeks gone by,” Adams explained.

“We’re trying to look to back in the guys that are playing good footy at the moment. We’ve had two really good weeks.

“Guys that are in form… will continue to stay in until guys knock them from good performances in the VFL.”

North Melbourne will be looking to add to its win total at Blundstone Arena against Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon.

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