Ruck­man says work cru­cial for Roo ty­ros

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JON RALPH

RE-SIGNED North Melbourne ruck­man Todd Gold­stein says the club’s batch of young stars are the equal of any group of un­der-23s in the AFL.

But Gold­stein says only hard work will see them flour­ish as he seeks to win a premier­ship be­fore his time in the AFL is up.

No club had more than North Melbourne’s four Ris­ing Star nom­i­na­tions in 2019 — Bai­ley Scott (Round 1), Cam Zurhaar (Round 7), Tar­ryn Thomas (Round 12) and Nick Larkey (Round 16).

Luke Davies-Uni­acke, new re­cruit Ai­den Bonar, Paul Ah­ern, Jy Simp­kin, Sam Dur­din, Ben McKay and Cur­tis Tay­lor also in that 23-an­dun­der age bracket at Rhyce Shaw’s Roos.

Gold­stein said Shaw had re­in­forced to that young group that they would de­fine the club’s im­prove­ment this year, with Bonar the only player brought in dur­ing the trade pe­riod.

Cham­pion Data’s rel­a­tive rat­ings all rank a player’s per­for­mance based on his age, po­si­tion and out­put and Thomas (plus 19 per cent), Davies-Uni­acke (plus seven per cent) and Larkey (plus seven per cent) are the club’s best-per­formed kids.

“We are headed in the right di­rec­tion, we have got a lot of young play­ers, we had four Ris­ing Star nom­i­na­tions last year so I have got great con­fi­dence in the group we have got and in the end it comes down to I love this place and I want to make it suc­cess­ful,” he said.

“I don’t see why they are not (as good as any col­lec­tion of kids). They need to work to get bet­ter but that’s the im­pres­sive thing, they are all do­ing that. They all want to be stars. Tar­ryn Thomas has been noth­ing but im­pres­sive since he came here as an academy kid three or four years ago, so I think they have got a lot of po­ten­tial.

“It is what is go­ing to make the dif­fer­ence. We know what Benny Brown will give us, we know what Cun­ners and Jack Ziebell will give us, it’s those guys who can re­ally drive this group for­ward.”

On the AFL’s rel­a­tive rat­ings Rich­mond’s premier­ship win­dow is wide open, with the Tigers join­ing the Dogs with eight play­ers 23 and un­der with a pos­i­tive rel­a­tive rat­ing. In the past two sea­sons the Tigers have had Jack Hig­gins, Liam Baker, Sydney Stack and Shai Bolton awarded Ris­ing Star nom­i­na­tions.

The Dogs have had Bai­ley Smith, Aaron Naughton and Ed Richards given Ris­ing Star nods since the start of 2018.

At Gee­long this sea­son Char­lie Con­sta­ble, Gryan Miers and Jor­dan Clark were handed nom­i­na­tions this year. But Ade­laide has only a sin­gle player with a pos­i­tive rel­a­tive rat­ing aged 23 and un­der — El­liott Him­mel­berg.

Pic­ture: AAP

RIS­ING: Tas­ma­nian Tar­ryn Thomas is among a group of North Melbourne young guns ex­pected to fire in 2020.

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