AFL Roos tackle round-one curse head on

Jed Anderson will debut, Daniel Wells will be reborn and Todd Goldstein will star but Brad Scott isn’t counting on any one player to make a difference for North Melbourne.


Scott wouldn’t confirm it on Wednesday but ex-Hawthorn forward Anderson is expected to make his debut for the club when the Kangaroos attempt to break a run of six round-one losses against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Wells and Goldstein figure to be important players, with the former finally over a chronic calf issue that kept him to two games last season and the latter well placed to exploit the AFL’s new interchange conditions.

Scott, however, says it would be their contribution to the side’s overall performance that will count.

“People who think that one player comes into your team and makes all the difference are delusional,” he said on Wednesday.

“Wellsy is going to play his part, it’s an important part, but it’s no more important than any of our other midfielders.

“We have to get away from this concept that one player is going to be the missing piece in the puzzle.

“Our strength is and has always been the strength of the collective.”

Scott did concede the scrapping of the substitute and the reduction of interchange rotations to 90 per game this season would play right into the hands of Goldstein, last year’s All Australian ruckman who is renowned for his elite endurance.

The Roos will hit the season in good shape from an injury perspective, with Shaun Higgins (knee) and Robbie Tarrant (back soreness) expected to be available to take on the Crows.

That’s good news for Scott, who is yet to guide North to a season-opening win in six years in charge.

He’s not sure exactly why that is but he’s left no stone unturned as he attempts to rid himself of the unwanted record.

“It could be (a coincidence) but we’re not leaving anything to chance,” he said.

“We’re not stupid enough to say that we’re just going to keep rolling out the same round-one preparation that we have in previous years.

“We’ve played a lot more (pre-season) games than we have previously and we’ve tweaked our training structure pretty significantly to be more ready to go at the start of the year.

“We’re not sticking our heads in the sand and saying that it’s just a coincidence.”