North Melbourne 2019 – Five Fearless Predictions

North Melbourne surprised many in 2019 but what should we expect from them in 2019?

Another year another surprise for North Melbourne. The Kangaroos were widely touted by many including myself, to fall a fair way down the totem pole in 2018 and sit towards the base of the ladder. But in the end, the Roos shocked us by finishing 9th, missing out on finals in the end when they probably should’ve seen September footy. What will 2019 bring for a side interestingly poised after a quiet enough off-season.


2019 Playing List

Senior List:

Majak Daw, Marley Williams, Jed Anderson, Shaun Higgins, Ben Jacobs, Taylor Garner, Jack Ziebell, Nathan Hrovat, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Ben Cunnington, Luke McDonald, Jy Simpkin, Jared Polec, Trent Dumont, Paul Ahren, Scott D Thompson, Jasper Pittard, Shaun Atley, Sam Wright, Nick Larkey, Dom Tyson, Todd Goldstein, Ben McKay, Sam Durdin, Robbie Tarrant, Tarryn Thomas, Will Walker, Kayner Turner, Bailey Scott, Curtis Taylor, Mason Wood, Ed Vickers-Willis, Jamie Macmillan, Declan Watson, Joel Crocker, Tristan Xerri, Tom Campbell, Aaron Hall, Ben Brown

Rookies:

Kyron Hayden, Tom McKenzie, Tom Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Cameron Zurhaar, Reg Og Murphy

Ins and Outs

Ins: Aaron Hall, Jasper Pittard, Jared Polec, Dom Tyson, Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker, Tom McKenzie, Kyron Hayden, Tom Wilkinson

Outs: Billy Hartung, Mitch Hibberd, Tom Jeffries, Oscar Junker, Alex Morgan, Declan Mountford, Gordon Narrier, Daniel Nielson, Josh Williams, Jarrad Waite


Five Fearless Predictions

High Expectations

North surprised all in 2018, finishing above some quality opposition and falling just short of finals after being in the hunt all season long. Many fans and journalists alike expected the Roos to fall from grace and languish at the bottom of the table. After a miraculous revival of Brad Scott’s career, the Roos will aim to keep the train rolling, and prove that their new-look side has what it takes to beat the best.


Improved Engine Room

The Kangaroos recruited extremely well over the offseason and although they didn’t land a big fish that they’ve been searching for for a while now, they did land several medium sized fish. Aaron Hall, Jared Polec and Dom Tyson are all handy inclusions and should all a bit of class to North’s engine room, aiding guys like Ben Cunnington and Shaun Higgins who are both fantastic and flexible players. Together that group makes up an intimidating enough centre group.


Home away from Home to prove decisive

This year the middle of the pack is sure to be fiercely contested. Plenty of teams will be vying for the last two or three spots in finals and try to make a difference come September. North has one advantage to help them which could be the difference, Blundstone Arena. North has four matches at the ground this year where they hold an impeccable record. The four games are against tough opponents on a whole however, with Sydney, GWS, St. Kilda and Melbourne being the four teams that’ll make the journey to Tassie in 2019. If North can win three of these, it’ll be a big help to getting them into the finals in 2019.


Lack of X-Factor to hurt

Although North’s list is strong enough, they do lack an ‘X-factor’ player of sorts, someone renowned for taking the game away from oppositions off their own boot. Other teams expected to compete for places in finals like North, do have these kinds of players, for example, Robbie Gray at Port Adelaide or Patrick Dangerfield at Geelong. This lack of a player of this calibre means the Kangaroos will always need to work as a unit, and capitalise on opportunities, as there may not always be someone to mop up.


Depth to be tested more

Last year we didn’t see North’s depth exposed, nearly at all. Throughout all of the 2018 season, North played just 31 individual players, the least out of any AFL club. If North can maintain that sort of consistency, then they can expect to be back around the mark they were at last season. But lose too many, and they’re going to have to rely on inexperienced depth which is mostly untested when it counts


Fixture

Round Date Opponent Venue
1 Sunday 24 Mar 3:20pm Fremantle Optus Stadium
2 Sunday 31 Mar 1:10pm Brisbane Marvel Stadium
3 Sunday 7 Apr 3:20pm Hawthorn MCG
4 Saturday 13 Apr 7:25pm Adelaide Marvel Stadium
5 Friday 19 Apr 4:20pm Essendon Marvel Stadium
6 Friday 26 Apr 7:20pm Port Adelaide Adelaide Oval
7 Sunday 5 May 1:10pm Carlton Marvel Stadium
8 Sunday 12 May 1:10pm Geelong Marvel Stadium
9 Saturday 18 May 7:25pm Sydney Blundstone Arena
10 Saturday 25 May 2:10pm Western Bulldogs Marvel Stadium
11 Friday 31 May 7:50pm Richmond Marvel Stadium
12 Saturday 8 Jun 4:35pm Gold Coast Metricon Stadium
13 Sunday 16 Jun 3:20pm GWS Giants Blundstone Arena
14 BYE
15 Saturday 29 Jun 7:25pm Collingwood Marvel Stadium
16 Sunday 7 Jul 3:20pm St Kilda Blundstone Arena
17 Saturday 13 Jul 4:35pm Essendon Marvel Stadium
18 Saturday 20 Jul 7:25pm Brisbane Gabba
19 Saturday 27 Jul 2:35pm West Coast Optus Stadium
20 Friday 2 Aug 7:50pm Hawthorn Marvel Stadium
21 Saturday 10 Aug 7:25pm Geelong GMHBA Stadium
22 Saturday 17 Aug 7:25pm Port Adelaide Marvel Stadium
23 TBC Melbourne Blundstone Arena

Best 22

B: Sam Wright, Majak Daw, Scott D Thompson

HB: Marley Williams, Robbie Tarrant, Jasper Pittard

C: Ben Cunnington, Jared Polec, Dom Tyson

HF: Aaron Hall, Mason Wood, Jack Ziebell

F: Jy Simpkin, Ben Brown, Shaun Atley

FOL: Todd Goldstein, Shaun Higgins, Jed Anderson

INT: Jamie Macmillan, Trent Dumont, Paul Ahren, Luke McDonald

EMG: Nathan Hrovat, Kane Turner, Ben Jacobs


Individuals

Best Brownlow Chance: Shaun Higgins

All Australian Contenders: Shaun Higgins, Ben Cunnington, Ben Brown, Robbie Tarrant, Jared Polec

Best Coleman Chance: Ben Brown

Breakout Star: Paul Ahren

Best Rising Star Chance: Luke Davies-Uniacke


Predicted Finish

After shocking us all in 2018 I’m just not sure North Melbourne can do it again. It all boils down to consistency and capitalising on the games they should win. With such a strong competition looming in 2019, the Kangaroos look set to miss finals, but you never know, maybe they’ll surprise us again.

North Melbourne to finish between 11th and 13th


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