19/04/2024

Griffin Logue is preparing for a move east with a trade to North Melbourne. (Image: AFL; Design: Will Cuckson)

Griffin Logue is set for a move to the east coast after joining North Melbourne in a trade alongside teammate Darcy Tucker. The Kangaroos offered up their future second, third and fourth round picks for the pair.

The promise of consistent game time and a permanent spot in the backline proved too lucrative to refuse, after the Dockers big man was moved all around the ground in 2022.

Alastair Clarkson initially sold Logue the dream of Josh Gibson, one of the modern generation’s greatest defenders and a two-time Hawks best and fairest under Clarkson. The recent uncertainty around the Kangaroos’ coaching role hasn’t wavered Logue’s interest in becoming the key man in North’s back six.

Logue is one of three players under Corporate Sports Australia’s management set to leave Fremantle this season alongside Rory Lobb and Blake Acres, as the club prepares for an exodus of talent to make room for the rumoured inclusion of Luke Jackson.

How does Logue help a struggling defence?

The best way to feign a competitive rebuild on-field is to strengthen the defence and stop the leak of points against. The Kangaroos finished the season with an abysmal percentage of 55.8, showing a dire need to improve their back six.

North Melbourne’s defence looked dysfunctional with a myriad of distributors running through the lockdown roles and defending more regularly than would be expected. This often resulted in opposition finding the mismatches and exposing less experienced defenders.

Logue is expected to be the premier defender for mobile forwards, and will form a strong defensive trio with Ben McKay and Aidan Corr that will be able to strengthen and develop over the life of the rebuild.

Pairing the development of these three defenders with effective ball use coming out of the back 50 should be priority number one for an incoming Kangaroos coach with plenty of developing talent ahead of the ball.

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Creating a defence that creates transition

Adding another capable defender to the back six will ease the pressure from the rebound defenders who had been forced into playing lockdown roles.

Another pre-season through the backline for Jaidyn Stephenson can see the former Rising Star meet his potential through a running, rebounding half-back role.

Logue, who had 31 contested one-on-one contests in his 10 games as a defender and only lost three, will rarely be beaten in the air and ensure the ball comes to ground for the smaller defenders to clean up and move out of the backline.

The trio of Stephenson, Aaron Hall and Luke McDonald are expected to resume their posts as the distributors of the Kangaroos’ defence.

All three should be expected to improve their disposal efficiency upwards of 80 per cent to relieve pressure from the backline and utilise the likes of Jy Simpkin, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Nick Larkey ahead of the ball.

Why does North Melbourne need Griffin Logue?

Undersized defenders that included Lachie Young and Bailey Scott as well as an aging Josh Walker looked to struggle in 2022, as North Melbourne conceded three or more goals to a key forward 24 times this season.

In eight games, the opposition had two key forwards kick at least three to further expose the Kangaroos’ lack of depth.

Logue averaged 10.3 pressure acts per game – leading the league for key defenders who played at least five games. He also averaged 6.3 one percenters per game, which would be a welcome inclusion to the Kangaroos who averaged 37.8 one percenters per game as a team.

Their 2397 points conceded is the worst since the 2017, Lions and a percentage of 55.8 ranks fourth worst in the last 10 seasons, behind the Giants’ first two seasons and Melbourne of 2013.

Adding Logue to the mix is sure to help North concede less than 110 points per game and make itself more competitive.

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