19/05/2024

Tom Powell has been a shining light for North Melbourne. Photo: @NMFCOfficial Twitter

North coach David Noble says Ben Cunnington has played a huge role in Tom Powell's brilliant play.

Ben Cunnington made the most of his Tribunal reprieve on Sunday, collecting 29 disposals and kicking a goal for his young North Melbourne side. However, it’s his work with the young midfielders that has pleased coach David Noble the most.

The 29-year-old is one of the veteran presences for North, who fell to Geelong by 30 points after a hard fought contest at GMHBA Stadium.

Noble was proud of his performance after the club appealed his suspension during the week.

“Ben Cunnington had his best game upon return,” Noble stated.

“[He’s] really important.

“I think what I’ve seen since I arrived is his ability to mentor our young guys coming through, he’s really passionate about that young group coming through.

“He won’t like me saying this, but leaving his mark with those young guys and teaching them the craft of midfield. Identifying times in the game and around contests where to position and where to place [themselves].

“It’s a little difficult because we don’t have big bodies on [Tom] Powell and [Will] Phillips and [Charlie] Lazzaro just yet. But he’s been fantastic for us in his education of the players.”

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Tom Powell will be right in the mix for the Rising Star award come the end of the season if his performance on Sunday afternoon is any indication.

The 18-year-old moved into the middle of the ground for North Melbourne after Jed Anderson’s calf injury in round three. He has thrilled supporters since with his appetite for the contest and class with ball in hand.

“I thought it was a great experience for our young guys, I mean Powell was really good again today in the midfield,” Noble said.

Powell was a ball magnet in his junior years, culminating in the South Australian product averaging nearly 35 disposals and winning the league’s Best and Fairest award for Sturt in the SANFL Under 18 competition.

It was that ability to accumulate possessions and utilise his clean hands that saw North take him with pick 13 last December.

Now, he’s re-energising the North Melbourne midfield with his craft. 19 disposals at 79 percent efficiency and two centre clearances was the latest in a string of classy games for the rookie.

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