Wayne Carey and Brad Scott have reassessed North Melbourne as a ‘destination club’ in 2018.
These comments are in light of their inability to snare players such as Dustin Martin, Josh Kelly, Adam Treloar and Dan Hannebery, each of which were offered insanely long and lucrative contracts to move to Arden Street.
North’s chairman Ben Buckley has publicly stated that North will continue to search for big signings this year, and reports have linked the Kangaroo’s to West Coast’s Andrew Gaff and Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey.
North’s failure to land any of these players is often connected to Arden Street’s unattractiveness.
North is frequently compared to the ‘destination clubs’, such as Collingwood and Hawthorn who have been able to attract recruits with much regularity. Players such as Brian Lake, Adam Trealor and James Frawley have asserted that future success drove their decision.
A sentiment that Brad Scott claims North Melbourne has addressed in 2018, but have they?
North Melbourne currently sits inside the top eight but has been heavily reliant on players in 2018 that are in the twilights of their careers.
Shaun Higgins has established himself as one of the premier half-forwards in the competition but turned 30 this year and given his history with injuries, it is questionable as to how much longer the former Bulldog has left.
Other key players such as Scott Thompson, Todd Goldstein, Jarrad Waite, and Robbie Tarrant are also close to or over 30.
It would be far-fetched to say that North Melbourne will push themselves into the premiership window in the coming years.
Another lure of the ‘destination clubs’ is stature. Club’s such as Collingwood and Richmond attract massive crowds and participate in many annually anticipated fixtures such as Anzac Day and Dreamtime at the G. It is unsurprising that these clubs are comfortably the first and second highest attended clubs.
North Melbourne sits fourth last in 2018 for average crowd size and has decreased from 2017. Additionally, outside of finals, North Melbourne players are sporadically exposed to packed crowds and hotly awaited fixtures.
It is unsurprising that players such as Tom Lynch, Andrew Gaff, Rory Sloane and Jeremy McGovern have been linked to Richmond, Hawthorn, and Collingwood.
Despite North Melbourne’s intentions to again pursue a ‘big fish’, it would be not be astounding to see them come up empty-handed again.