16/04/2024

North Melbourne recruits George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezel with head coach Alistair Clarkson: Source North Melbourne media

After losing last years number 1 draft pick in the offseason, North Melbourne has bounced back in a big way taking Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw at picks 3 and 4 respectively for a ready-made midfield-forward duo.

Originally holding Pick 2 in the draft, their bid for Will Ashcroft was matched by Brisbane under the father-son rule. The prospect of losing Pick 2 wasn’t daunting for North Melbourne as they already had eyes set on the lauded duo. 

“We have known for a while that these two were a fair chance of coming to our club. To get the combination of those two we are really excited about it,” North Melbourne list manager Brady Rawlings told media at Marvel Stadium on Monday night. 

Wardlaw, who is an inside midfielder, had a disrupted season due to soft tissue injury re-occurences, but his performances on-field held him in high regard with the club throughout the year.

His impressive performances included best afield honours in the AFL Academy game against Collingwood’s VFL side, which helped the Kangaroos look past his injuries and add him to the list in the hopes of building their midfield depth. 

“George had a few hamstrings throughout the year, they were pretty minor [so] we were pretty confident once he gets into an AFL program and gets managed really well he will be fine.

“Obviously we looked at the medical stuff really closely when we are investing such a high pick but it came back really positive so there are no concerns for us with the long term stuff, we were pretty confident his body will be fine,” Rawlings added 

Sheezel has been described as having X-factor, being a forward with incredible goal kicking abilities. He’s set to look right at home in the Kangaroos forward line alongisde Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhaar. 

Keeping to the theme of building depth for the club, Sheezel has also proved his midfield capabilities.

“We want to build a midfield that’s got a lot of depth and be able to play in different positions – we believe the guys we have picked over the past few years can really take us forward.

“With George we know he can go forward as well and have some impact and Harry as a forward can go in the midifled, we feel like we are picking some players with versatility,” Rawlings said on Draft night. 

With that versatility in mind the pair played a part in being the driver for the trade for last year’s number one pick Jason Horne-Francis. Originally the Kangroos would have Pick 1 and received Pick 8 in the draft order, but knowing how they wanted their list to look getting hold of the back-to-back picks of 2 and 3 was vital to getting the duo. 

“Certainly we had these players in mind when we did the trade, we could have kept 1 and probably got Pick 8 through the Horne-Francis trade, but the combination of looking at Sheezel and Wardlaw was something that was really appealing to us. 

“The trade nearly fell over at one stage and we wanted to get it back up and running because they were the two players we had in mind.”  

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply