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North Melbourne Kangaroos player Todd Goldstein

AFL season preview: North Melbourne Kangaroos

The rebuild is firmly on for North Melbourne in 2018, with a roster sharply devoid of big name talent.
Signs were promising for this young roster when the club finished eighth in 2015 and 2016, but that all came unstuck last season when the Kangaroos crashed to 15th.
It is not all doom and gloom at Arden Street, with Ben Brown enjoying a breakout season in 2017. His goal tallies have risen over the last four years and he could be set for a big year up front.
There is plenty of young talent around him, a smattering of solid defenders and a decent wing presence in Luke McDonald.
But the midfield stocks are bare and there are so many questions over the young squad and who is going to be able to stand up.
Expect a lot of chopping and changing this year, a few debutants and a lot of pain on the scoreboard for the 'Roos as they try to work out their best plan moving forward.

The key player for the North Melbourne Kangaroos

A dominant ruckman is hard to find, and North Melbourne thought they had one in Todd Goldstein.
But the All-Australian ruckman of 2015 battled inner demons in 2017 that resulted in demotion to the VFL.
There were calls for the 'Roos to trade him away to draw in some young talent, but North Melbourne resisted the temptation to use their only blue chip player as trade bait.
All reports are that he is stinging to repay their faith. The midfield around him is likely to be weak, but if Goldstein reaches the level of form that saw him poll 18 Brownlow votes in 2015, those young players around him just might lift too.

The new recruit

The Kangaroos had a dismal run at bringing new blood to the club. Perhaps their best signing would be defender Alex Morgan, who comes to the club from Essendon.
While he is yet to make his AFL debut, his VFL form was strong enough for Essendon to try and keep him on their books. But the opportunity to play regular AFL football brings him to North Melbourne.
This raw-boned talent will have a job to do up back and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.

Needs to lift

The crew who manage the players fitness. The injury toll at North Melbourne was so bad in 2017 that a new position has been created in the football department just to address it.
The high performance manager will have a job to do to keep this roster taped together for an entire season.
For the Kangaroos to grow, they need their best players on the park on a consistent basis.

The X-factor

Mason Wood has spent way more time in the injury ward than he would have liked in recent years.
The promising forward has only played 26 AFL games, with just 10 in 2017, after a horror run of hamstring, knee and calf injuries.
He is 24 now and starting to reach the point where he should be starring for this outfit.
If he can stay fit and realise his potential, it will go a long way towards making North Melbourne competitive.

Ins: Alex Morgan, Tom Jeffries
Outs: Andrew Swallow, Lindsay Thomas, Lachie Hansen, Will Fordham, Matt Taylor, Sam Gibson, Aaron Mullett, Corey Wagner.

Predicted finish: 18th

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18. North Melbourne
19. Gold Coast Suns

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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