Mooroopna product Jy Simpkin is looking to spend more time in the midfield this year.
Pick 12 in the 2016 national draft, Simpkin competed as a sneaky forward during his 13 AFL games last season.
Touted as one of the most exciting players to watch this year, the former Murray Bushranger has the upcoming pre-season matches to stake his claim for a midfield berth.
North Melbourne stoppage coach Jarred Moore said Simpkin was every possibility of progressing up the ground.
‘‘He’s been going really well at the moment,’’ Moore said.
‘‘He’s been doing a lot of midfield stuff, and trained a fair bit with the midfielders this pre-season.
‘‘Whether or not he plays significant minutes there remains to be seen, but we do want to develop that area of his game with an eye to the future.’’
Having shown plenty of pace and crafty footwork across the region’s grounds as a junior and also while in a Bushrangers jumper, Moore said this had only continued to develop.
‘‘He’s so good with his feet and his lateral movement, which helps him get in and out of traffic,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s got a bit of outside run as well, so hopefully he can win the ball on the inside, and then get it to the outside of the pack and either kick it himself or give it to another user.’’
Katamatite’s Sam Wright has returned to training with the main Kangaroos group as he attempts to make another comeback from his problematic foot injury.
Wright has not played since round 11 2016, as his AFL return continued to get delayed last season due to recurring pain in the foot.
Rochester’s Shaun Atley looks set to make an impact for North Melbourne during AFLX competition on February 16.
Atley impressed during the Kangaroos’ early attempts at adjusting to the shortened game during a pre-season game.
He will gain the opportunity to showcase his affinity for playing the 20-minute matches at Etihad Stadium when North Melbourne takes on Carlton and Melbourne.