North Melbourne 2011 Preview

Being a North Melbourne supporter, the off-season is usually full of unwanted press about the Roos relocating, folding, not having enough money, relying on AFL/government handouts etc. It’s not a good time for anyone associated with the blue and white stripes. But this year, despite the Victorian election and the Hobart push for North to play games down in Tassie, it’s been a terrific pre-season. Media focus has been around us for a change. Good focus too. Reporters know that North will hit the competition hard in 2011. Brad Scott is coming out and publically challenging his team to improve against the top sides of the league. Will the boys take the challenge on? Of course, they’ll hit it head on, and I believe they can succeed. Sure, we might not beat Collingwood or Geelong next season, but I’m sure we’ll put up a damn good fight and not be blown away like usual. So what has happened since the boys left the field against Melbourne in September?


-Cameron Richardson (North Ballarat)

-Ben McKinley (West Coast Eagles)

-Shaun Atley (Murray Bushrangers)

-Kieran Harper (Eastern Ranges)

-Cameron Delaney (Geelong Falcons)

-Ben Mabon (North Ballarat)

-Cameron Pederson (Box Hill Hawks)

-Aaron Mullett (Eastern Ranges)


-Corey Jones (Retired)

-Leigh Harding (Retired)

-David Hale (Traded)

-Nathan O’Keefe (Delisted)

-Josh Smith (Delisted)

-Warren Benjamin (Delisted)

-Conor Meredith (Delisted)

-Alan Obst (Delisted)

Will we miss those outs? Sadly, no we won’t. There’s some serious football talent there, but it won’t hamper us at all. We’ll miss Jones’ leadership, as we have an array of small forward types that really could’ve learnt from him, while Harding was one of the oldest members left from the early 00’s. Hale had to go, there was no way he was going to break back into the side, while I think O’Keefe and Obst were hard done by as they have some serious potential, although I think the former had some attitude problems. And North’s hotness rating (as compiled by Danni Eid) has taken a serious hit with the departure of Obst.

North had one of the biggest days at the National Draft in their history. Atley was expected to go in the top 10, so to get him at pick 17 is an absolute steal, while utilising the compensation pick earnt through trade week was a masterstroke, nabbing classy goalsneak Kieran Harper with pick 27. Pick 69 Cameron Delaney is similar to Dustin Fletcher, while pick 71 Ben Mabon (eerily similar to last year’s pick 71, Ben Nason) is an athletic 200cm Ruckman, although I think it’s fair to say he won’t see any gametime in 2011. The acquisition of Ben McKinley in trade week was a win-win for all people involved with North. West Coast traded him for pick 86, and we can’t complain with that. Hopefully the Eagles realise the mistake they made when McKinley is an up-and-coming player in a couple of years. Cam Richardson is a huge plus for North. One of the pre-listed players picked by the Gold Coast Suns, he was then traded to Arden Street, and has already had a big impact, impressing in Utah and winning the club time trial back home. One person who won’t like the new addition would be Gavin Urquhart, expect a bit of rivalry between those two as they fight for the half back position. Scott McMahon is also under a bit of pressure. To the rookies, and Pederson was another steal. Late mail had him going to the Suns with their first pick in the Pre-Season Draft, but they overlooked him, and North pounced in the Rookie Draft. He is a huge lad, and if Delaney doesn’t work as a full back, Pederson definitely will. I haven’t heard much about Aaron Mullett, but he looks like a good midfielder, but he’d be very low on the pecking order for a crack at the big time.


1. Hamish McIntosh

2010 Games: 20

2010 Goals: 14

A solid finish to the season for Big H should be a good stepping stone for him to continue into 2011 with a possible All-Australian berth. Needs to be more aggressive, and lacks a bit of mongrel, but is terrific in the ruck, and can float forward and take a big pack mark.

2. Ed Lower

2010 Games: 8

2010 Goals: 1

Things are against Ed. He is tough, and he is classy, but he just can’t get the runs on the board. Injuries derailed his season, but Brad Scott kept him on the list for another year, something I disagree with. I think he should’ve been moved on. I’ll be surprised if he cracks it for any appearances next year.

3. Brady Rawlings

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 1

Brady surprised all with a superb season from the backline, winning the Syd Barker Medal, his third, along with Boomer. He racked up countless possessions, and played the negating role to perfection. Underrated by many, but a poor season from him will put a massive dint in our 2011 aspirations.

4. Liam Anthony

2010 Games: 7

2010 Goals: 5

Looked to have turned into a goalkicking midfielder, especially after three goals against West Coast in Round 3, but a dislocated shoulder saw him finished for the remainder of the year. Hugely important youngster for North, getting a full season into him will be vital.

5. Ben Warren

2010 Games: 16

2010 Goals: 21

A real character at the club, he’ll fight a fierce battle with Aaron Edwards and Ben McKinley throughout 2011 for that mid-sized forward role. Warren is a great mark for his size (186cm) and has the strength to knock bigger blokes off the ball.

6. Lachie Hansen

2010 Games: 21

2010 Goals: 23

Hansen looked to have found his niche in the forward line after a few seasons of uncertainty. He showed his great marking abilities, and is starting to show why he was taken with pick 3 in the 2006 Draft. Hugely athletic, the return of Drew Petrie will make things interesting.

7. Jack Ziebell

2010 Games: 14

2010 Goals: 2

Ziebell was having a good season before the second broken leg in his 24 game career occurred at Geelong. Has been training the house down apparently, getting him and Liam Anthony together in the midfield is hugely important.

8. Daniel Wells

2010 Games: 19

2010 Goals: 15

Had a career-best season, despite missing a few games towards the end of the season, but is really starting to live up to the huge expectations. Managed to kick a handy amount of goals and his kicking is exquisite.

9. Andrew Swallow

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 16

Followed up from an outstanding 2009 with another terrific year, narrowly missing out on another Best and Fairest by one vote. Signed a new contract with North after the season was finished, ruling out any possibility of him going to Greater Western Sydney anytime soon. His tackling is second to none.

10. Ben Cunnington

2010 Games: 18

2010 Goals: 1

The professional youngster had to wait until Round 5 to make his debut, but once he did he never left the team. He impressed with his tackling and one-percenters, while his ability to hit targets via hand and foot was sensational. Needs to improve his disposal rate and his finishing skills.

11. Michael Firrito

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 2

Moved back to the backline and became a leader. Very important to the development of the other defenders, his long kicking and bullish approach is his trademark.

12. Lindsay Thomas

2010 Games: 18

2010 Goals: 29

Topped the goalkicking list after a breakthrough season which included a bag of 7 against Carlton. Trailed off towards the end of the season due to a knee injury, but is a highly-valued part of the forward line. Would like to see him push into the midfield next season.

13. Leigh Adams

2010 Games: 15

2010 Goals: 11

Star in the making. Tough, classy and a goalkicker, it’s the whole package with Patch. Having heart surgery in a few days, but should be right for Round 1.

14. Gavin Urquhart

2010 Games: 8

2010 Goals: 3

Forgot to pack his razors for his trip to Utah, as he has come back with a fair bit of facial hair and, most shockingly of all, a full mop of curly hair. Lets hope it’s gone by seasons start. Faces a big task ahead of him in 2011, with the emergence of Cam Richardson and Jamie Macmillan.

15. Ben Ross

2010 Games: 2

2010 Goals: 0

Huge talent, but has failed to make it on the park. 2011 will be a make or break year, if he fails to add a substantial amount to his total games tally, he’ll be moved on.

16. Scott Thompson

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 1

The bloke every team needs. Has mongrel, and plenty of it, and is rated one of the biggest pests in the league. Not bad for a 50-gamer. Had a ripper pre-season, and added a few kilos to his 193cm frame, hopefully he can hold his own against the full forwards next year.

17. Nathan Grima

2010 Games: 17

2010 Goals: 0

Athletic backman stamped his importance in the North Melbourne side, playing superb shut-down roles on the likes of Matthew Pavlich, Kurt Tippett and Jack Riewoldt. Grima missed five matches throughout 2010 through injury. North lost all of those games. That speaks volumes.

18. Shaun Atley

The North Melbourne recruiting staff didn’t even interview the 18 year old, thinking he’d go early in the draft. His kicking is exquisite, and knows how to lay a tackle. Twice runner-up in State level hurdles, which shows his athleticism. Will be hoping to make the number 18 guernsey his own.

19. Sam Wright

2010 Games: 20

2010 Goals: 23

Bulked up considerably in 2010, playing as an attacking half back type, before being swung forward late in the year to kick 12 goals in four games, including a haul of 4 against West Coast. Future Shannon Grant in the making.

20. Drew Petrie

2010 Games: 2

2010 Goals: 0

Had the year from hell. Broke his foot on the eve of Round 1, before breaking the other one during his comeback game in Round 10. He would suffer a third break during Round 14 against Sydney. Massively important to North, hard to see where he will fit into the settled team, but playing from the goalsquare is where Brad Scott has said he’ll be.

21. Cameron Richardson

For a brief moment he was a Gold Coast player, before being traded back to Melbourne to the one club he wanted to play for. Was a member of the North Ballarat 2009 Premiership victory, impressed in Utah, making a good impression on his new teammates, before coming home to win the time trail around Visy Park. Should get a game early in the year.

22. Todd Goldstein

2010 Games: 21

2010 Goals: 10

Had a terrific year working in tandem with Hamish McIntosh. Also has the ability to go forward and kick a goal, he surprises many with his athletic capabilities and footy smarts. Goldy and Big H are quickly becoming the most dangerous ruck duo in the AFL.

23. Kieran Harper

The speedy half forward flanker has the ability to kick the miraculous goals from the boundary. Goes against the usual tough, gritty North Melbourne type, this kid is flashy and full of class.

24. Levi Greenwood

2010 Games: 17

2010 Goals: 4

Falling down the stairs and breaking his toe on the eve of Round 1 didn’t stop Levi from having a breakout season. Is as tough as Glenn Archer, and is described like a bull. Cemented his position in the midfield with 39 possessions against Melbourne in Round 22, he rounds out one of the youngest midfields in the competition.

25. Robbie Tarrant

2010 Games: 2

2010 Goals: 0

The big forward finally made his long awaited debut, but it was defence in which he played. Forward-turned-defender, the brother of Chris will be hoping to make the backline his own next season.

26. Ben McKinley

2010 Games: 10

2010 Goals: 16

Huge acquisition for North, giving up a pair of steak knives for the talented forward. Showed serious signs from the very beginning, with 11 goals within two weeks before he had even played 10 matches in 2008. Hoping to increase his tank and play a roaming midfield role.

27. Aaron Edwards

2010 Games: 14

2010 Goals: 25

Following a career-best season, Edwards trained the house down in Utah, and is one of the six players vying for the medium-size forward role. Would have to be at the top of the pecking order.

28. Ryan Bastinac

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 7

The speedy youngster impressed the whole competition, playing every game in his debut season. Became a goalkicking midfielder towards the latter end of the season, and is one of the many future faces of the North Melbourne Football Club.

29. Brent Harvey

2010 Games: 22

2010 Goals: 25

Despite speculation that his best was behind him, Boomer mastered a switch from the midfield to the half forward line, kicking crucial goals more than once throughout the season. Capped the year off with his fifth Syd Barker Medal. Can go on for another couple of years.

30. Daniel Pratt

2010 Games: 13

2010 Goals: 1

One of the senior leaders at North Melbourne, Pratt is hoping to cement his position in the backline where he can use his long kicking to the team’s advantage. A fit and firing Pratt will go a long way to the Roos playing finals.

31. Cameron Delaney

One of three Cameron’s picked up in the off-season; the younger brother of Luke is likened to Dustin Fletcher, with similarly long limbs. Athletic and, with some added weight to his 194cm frame, will look an imposing figure in a couple of seasons time.

32. Cruize Garlett

2010 Games: 11

2010 Goals: 2

Despite standing just 174cm tall, Garlett is one of North’s most tenacious players. Impressed with his tackling and pressure, and has plenty of speed. May be suited to a substitute position.

33. Matthew Campbell

2010 Games: 12

2010 Goals: 9

Slipped even further in the pecking order behind Lindsay Thomas and Cruize Garlett, but showed he can still do some serious damage with clever snap goals. Has the pace to play in the midfield, and is very dangerous around goals. 2011 is a make or break year.

34. Jamie Macmillan

2010 Games: 4

2010 Goals: 1

Has an unbelievable amount of persistence and confidence, if he isn’t in the Round 1 side next season he’ll be the most disappointed man in the AFL. Loves learning, and the few games he played at the end of 2010 will give him the belief that he can crack a position in the team.

35. Aaron Black

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Huge wraps on the youngster, stayed home while the rest went to Utah, but is reportedly fit and firing. Would love to see this kid leading out of the goalsquare.

36. Ayden Kennedy

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Played in the Werribee reserves for 2010, so a run in the seniors will be needed before a berth in the big time.

37. Brayden Norris

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Fan favourite before he’s even played a senior game, Norris played a vital role in the North Ballarat premiership victory. Was on the verge of getting a debut match late in 2010, so he isn’t far off.

38. Majak Daw*

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Massive prospect player for North, the first Sudanese player picked for the AFL impressed in the VFL reserves, but retained his rookie status. A strong year will see him elevated onto the senior list. Known to be breathtaking at the things he does at training.

39. Cameron Pederson*

Huge unit, the 23 year old played as a full back for the Box Hill Hawks. Will make an immediate impact if given a crack in 2011.

40. Ben Mabon

Will be given heaps of time to develop, and is good insurance in case Goldstein or McIntosh go down. Very athletic despite standing 200cm tall. Has a Dean Cox-look about him.

41. Aaron Mullett*

Impressive left-footer and also good overhead.

42. Scott McMahon

2010 Games: 17

2010 Goals: 1

Had an up and down year, but finished strongly, keeping All-Australian Mark LeCras quiet in Round 21. Very important to the North Melbourne team, has an array of youngsters vying for his spot.

43. Marcus White*

2010 Games: 2

2010 Goals: 0

Persistence paid off big time for the rookie listed player, getting his debut match in Round 18. Very professional, the type that would run through a brick wall for his coach. Next on his to-do list: Get promoted to senior list. He will do it.

44. Matthew Scott*

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Impressive youngster for North, has very clean hands and thinks his way through traffic. Will have to bide his time in the VFL.

45. Luke Delaney*

2010 Games: 0

2010 Goals: 0

Older brother of Cameron, chances are he’ll be the next player elevated onto the senior list. Ready-made, looks like he’ll have an impact straight away if chosen for an AFL debut.

46. Ben Speight

2010 Games: 2

2010 Goals: 1

Injury hit the impressive youngster, with a broken jaw midway through the season, then a broken collarbone. Still managed to make a surprise debut against Essendon in Round 17, and kicked a beautiful goal on the run. Has an immense load of talent, one of the more important players on the North Melbourne list surprisingly.


With the new sub rule introduced and the number of interchange players reduced from four to three, the North Melbourne selection panel have a huge problem come Round 1, 2011.

B: McMahon—Thompson—Pratt

HB: Firrito—Grima—Rawlings

C: Greenwood—Swallow—Ziebell

HF: Harvey—Hansen—Wright

F: McKinley—Edwards—Thomas

R: McIntosh—Anthony—Wells

I/C: Goldstein—Bastinac—Speight

S: Petrie

Almost an impossible task picking 22 players for North Melbourne, they have an amazing amount of depth. To highlight this, players not picked in that squad include Warren, Cunnington, Adams, Urquhart, Atley, Richardson, Harper, Macmillan, Garlett, Campbell and Norris.

Petrie as a sub should be the number one option for the very early part of next season. Coming back from three foot fractures in the space of 16 weeks, he’ll need to be eased into it.

The inclusion of Speight might be interesting to some of you, but this kid has the ability to kick a few classy goals on the run.

Boomer might even be a sub option, having a fresh Brent Harvey going into the second half is an amazing prospect, but having him for the whole game seems even better.

But for the players aforementioned that didn’t make the team, I have no worries that they won’t all play a serious role in 2011, especially the trio of Richardson, Atley and Harper, who are very impressive youngsters.


The Roos have an array of players to select for the Supercoach year. Players to consider:



























Players to avoid:







-C Delaney















I’ve got a feeling 2011 is going to be a special year for North Melbourne. A return the finals is definitely on the immediate horizon, while a premiership is close. The forward line, seen by many as North’s weak spot, has been bolstered with the return of Petrie, the emergence of Hansen and Wright, the improved fitness of Warren and Edwards, the addition of McKinley and the depth provided by the likes of Thomas, Adams, Harper and co. North are one of the three Victorian sides on the way up, along with Melbourne and Richmond, and will be wanting to further stamp their authority in 2011, and should be pushing for a finals berth. Top eight is a must. Top four is a possibility. 2011 has a distinct 2007-feel about it. North Melbourne are really going to shake the competition up next season.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Josh,

    very thorough and shows great committment.

    However I always cook my kangaroo with bacon.

    It keeps it moist and the smokey taste compliments the taste. Cats love kangaroo that way.

    You can put blueberries (in season) in the baking bag if you choose to use a herbal compliment.

  2. Josh, Ben McKinley now in Royal Blue +8

  3. Ha ha Phantom..

    I heard about today Danni, well done.

  4. Josh
    I am really looking forward to next year. It was very heartening to see
    big Drewie on the track.
    The one query I had during trade season was what North gave up to secure
    Cam Richardson from North Ballarat. North got GC to pre-list him, and
    then traded (a concession for Hale??) for him. You would think they
    reckon he can step straight into the seniors. As you point out, he is having
    a huge pre-season as he knows he has something to prove.
    Brad Scott will also be better for a season as the main man under his belt.

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