Star North Melbourne midfielder Ben Cunnington will head to the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday evening to challenge his one-match suspension for a high bump on Adelaide’s Rory Laird.
Who are the North Melbourne Kangaroos players that should play to their optimum level in season 2021?
To be eligible for selection a player must have played at least five games in season 2020, so there can be a reference point as far as those players who apply their talent the best at AFL level.
The Kangaroos have some injuries to some key players notably, Jed Anderson and Todd Goldstein.
Here are the ten players (plus an Honourable Mention) who will stand out from the pack in season 2021 in terms of performing to their optimum level.
Todd Goldstein could possibly be playing his last season in 2021; hopefully his body holds up and it isn’t his last season.
He isn’t certain to play Round 1. He is a good leader, but needs to avoid injury and the rigours of the AFL are to get the better of him in season 2021.
10- Luke Davies-Uniacke averaged the seventh most disposals of any Kangaroos player in season 2020. He only featured in nine out of 17 games, but showed that he has some potential. He should get a good chance to show what he is capable of in season 2021, as long as he is fit and available.
9- Cam Zurhaar finished ninth in the Kangaroos best and fairest, featuring in 16 out of 17 games in season 2020. He kicked the most goals of any Kangaroos player as he kicked 18 goals, four more than any other player in the Kangaroos.
He also has the potential to contribute defensively as he averaged 2.38 tackles per game; the tenth highest tackles averaged by any Kangaroos player. He has the opportunity to cement himself as one of the key players for the Kangaroos in season 2021.
8- Nick Larkey will have to be at his best if season 2020 is anything to go by. He showed flashes of brilliance. He averaged the most goals per game with an average in 1.40 goals per game. He featured in ten out of 17 games in season 2020. Expect him to become a household name in season 2021.
7- Jaidyn Stephenson played in 14 of the Magpies 19 games in season 2020. He averaged exactly one goal per game.
A change is as good as a holiday; expect him to flourish from being given a different a role at the Kangaroos playing as a forward and perhaps on the wing, if needed. It was the perfect time for him to move on from the Magpies.
Expect him to be a handy addition for the Kangaroos.
6- Jared Polec should get plenty of the footy on the wing in season 2021. In season 2020 he averaged just under 20 disposals per game, featuring in 13 of 17 games that the Kangaroos played. He should improve his consistency in season 2021.
5- Jed Anderson isn’t certain to play in Round 1 in season 2021, otherwise he would be a certainty to be in the top four of the Kangaroos order of merit.
He is listed as a test as he has a calf injury as it stands. In season 2020, despite only playing 15 of 17 games, he finished third in the Kangaroos best and fairest.
As long as he is fit and available to play he is a great asset for the Kangaroos to have in their midfield in season 2021.
4- Robbie Tarrant had a good season in 2020 as he finished sixth in the best and fairest and featured in 16 of the 17 games that the Kangaroos played. He had the highest disposal efficiency of any Kangaroos player with an average of 84.83 per cent.
Despite being a key defender, Robbie Tarrant averaged the ninth most disposals of any Kangaroos player with an average of 15.62 disposals per game.
He is a player coming towards the end of his career, but he still has the capacity to play at a decent level in season 2021.
3- Trent Dumont had a great season for the Kangaroos in 2020 as he finished fifth in the best and fairest. He averaged the fifth most disposals of any Kangaroos player with an average of 20.21 disposals per game.
He had the equal most tackles of any player with 75 tackles. He featured in all 17 games in season 2020. If he is fit and available he will be a force to be reckoned with in season 2021.
2- Luke McDonald won the best and fairest for the Kangaroos in season 2020. He was a pivotal part of the team and expect season 2021 to be no different. He has the potential to create plenty of run out of defence. He was the sixth highest in terms of average disposal efficiency with an average of 78.75 per cent per game.
1- Jy Simpkin should be a revelation in season 2021. He has the opportunity to showcase why he is capable of being renowned as a good player. He finished second in the Kangaroos best and fairest in season 2020 and should be endeavouring to prove that his consistency in season 2020 wasn’t an aberration.