Ruckman says work crucial for Roo tyros
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.
RISING: Tasmanian Tarryn Thomas is among a group of North Melbourne young guns expected to fire in 2020.