14/04/2024
Tristan Xerri. Picture: North Melbourne

Tristan Xerri. Picture: North Melbourne

North Melbourne’s Tristan Xerri is embracing the number one ruck role and being a mentor to the club’s rising crop.

Last year, Xerri was given the nod in Round 1 ahead of veteran Todd Goldstein, but injuries derailed what was set to be a breakout season.

“(Clarko) gave me the nod at the start of the season, it builds huge belief in myself and the role I play in the team,” Xerri told The Inner Sanctum.

“Unfortunately last year I hurt my ankle, hopefully I can get a good run of it.”

Goldstein joined Essendon as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, making Xerri the undisputed top ruck.

However, during his time at the Kangaroos, the now-Bomber was a great mentor to the 25-year-old.

“I got drafted and he was at the peak of his powers,” he said.

“To have someone to learn off like that was huge, then I got to play with him for a few years as well, I learned a lot from him.

“No doubt at some stage this year I’ll probably give him a call too.”

With Goldstein’s departure, it’s given Xerri the opportunity to be the mentor to the Roos’ other rucks; Taylor Goad, Wil Dawson, Hamish Free and ex-Tiger Callum Coleman-Jones.

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“It’s different, it’s my new role as one of the older blokes on the list,” he said.

“It makes me feel a lot older, but I’ve embraced it and it’s a good thing.

“If I’m one of the older ones at 25 it shows where we’re heading as a club.”

Despite the loss to a rampaging GWS Giants outfit last weekend, the Roos are looking on the up, with the fruits of early draft picks beginning to pay dividends.

“Obviously a bit flat not to get the win on the weekend, but we all understand GWS are a pretty good team,” he said.

“There were some good signs to come out of that game I reckon, and we’re not going to let that discourage us and hopefully go out and get the win this week.

“(The future is) super exciting and it was the exact same thing last year with Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw.

“To have Duurs (Zane Duursma) and Colby (McKercher) come in and play well in their first game, and we’ve had Riley Hardiman, he’s had a really good summer.

“Taylor Goad is a 6’10 super athlete, the kids coming through are looking incredible and I’m really excited for this year and the next.”

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