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North enjoys perfect NAB Cup opening

Highlights: Tigers v Roos Richmond and North Melbourne clash in the first round of the 2013 NAB Cup
Reece Conca of the Tigers and Michael Firrito of the Kangaroos collide during the 2013 NAB Cup round 01, week 02 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Richmond Tigers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
North's Michael Firrito spoils Tiger Reece Conca on Friday night
NORTH Melbourne ruckman Majak Daw has strengthened his chances of a round one debut after a second explosive performance in the Roos' NAB Cup win over Richmond on Friday night.

Having impressed in North's earlier two-point win against Melbourne, the spring-heeled big man wowed the crowd with several powerful contributions.

The highlight was his goal in the first half that saw him grab the ball in front of Steven Morris, step left, jump right, unleash a 'don't argue' and then veer back the other way to run in and slot the major.

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said Daw would be in the frame for round one and considered in the "best 34" but would have to compete against the likes of Drew Petrie, Todd Goldstein and newcomer Daniel Currie for a spot.
 
"Majak did some really good things that we basically announced he would, and that he'd do some things that would make people stand up and watch," Scott said.
 
"We asked him to take the game on and I think that was the definition of taking the game on from what we saw tonight.
 
"The thing I was most pleased about after that goal was the reaction from his teammates. They were genuinely rapt for him.
 
"He's had to fight really hard for a long period of time to win the respect of his teammates because when he first came into the club he didn't know what it took to be a professional athlete.
 
"He's now rapidly learning that."

The third game of Friday night's action at Etihad Stadium was by far the most interesting and most intense, with an avalanche of goals compared to the previous hit-outs.  
 
Young Roo Aaron Black kicked the sealer for the Roos with 40 seconds remaining after the Tigers led for much of the night.

The final score was 0.7.6 (48) to 0.6.8 (44).
 
Hardwick not fussed by another close loss

With big men Todd Goldstein and Ivan Maric sitting out, North recruit Daniel Currie and Richmond rookie Orren Stephenson were pitted against each other, with support from Daw and Tom Derickx.
 
Currie impressed for the Roos with 12 hit-outs and dominance in the centre.

Veteran Roo Brent Harvey, who will miss the first six rounds of the season with suspension, was in good touch with a pair of goals in the first half.

Tigers first round draftee Nick Vlastuin was also impressive in the four-point defeat.
 
The 18-year-old former Vic Metro captain was one of the Tigers' shining lights in the narrow loss, despite his team dropping yet another tight one after leading for most of the game.
 
After an excellent showing in Alice Springs against the Indigenous All Stars, coupled with Friday night's second game, Vlastuin is another in contention for a round one debut.
 
"He's doing everything right thus far," coach Damien Hardwick said.
 
"We're still a long way out.
 
"[Vlastuin] is really impressive, he's very, very hard, which we like, he uses the ball extremely well and he's only going to get better from here on in."

Richmond lost six matches by less than 13 points last year and have spent the pre-season training for close finishes.
 
But Vlastuin delighted fans with one play where he spun around Shaun Atley to pump the ball inside 50, which resulted in a Shane Edwards goal.
 
Second year Tiger Brandon Ellis took another positive step after a red hot pre-season with nine disposals while former Adelaide player Chris Knights had eight.
 
Both sides entered the game having won their previous matches against Melbourne – North by two points and Richmond by 15.


What the coaches said
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick

"There was a five-minute patch I think just before half-time where they kicked three goals in five minutes so that disappointing. Otherwise, I thought we were pretty good on the night. Our intensity, our ability to tackle and cause turnovers I thought was outstanding."
 
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott
"You want to expose your players to that winning feeling in tight games as often as you can. There are certain things you want to be able to do when the game is tight, whether you're a little bit down or up. You can practice that at training all you like but until you've some genuine pressure you don't know how you're going to go soit's always good to come out the right side."
 
Fantasy snapshot
JORDAN Gysberts (mid, $262,800) was impressive in his first hit-out with his new club after swapping from Melbourne during the off-season. Gysberts is ready to impress and might find it easier among a bunch of quality on-ballers than he did when exposed in the Melbourne midfield last season. He struggles a bit on the spread but he wins the ball and has enough experience to take some positive steps forward. In the first game he won nine possessions, including five contested possessions. In the second game he struggled a bit as it was more open but he will get better. A possible mid-range AFL Fantasy inclusion.
 





RICHMOND                        0.4.3   0.6.8 (44)
NORTH MELBOURNE      0.5.2   0.7.6 (48)                                           
 
SUPERGOALS
Richmond:
Nil
North Melbourne: Nil
 
GOALS
Richmond:
S. Edwards 2, Riewoldt 2, Ellis, Jackson,
North Melbourne: Harvey 2, Black 2, Daw, Thomas, Ziebell
 
BEST
Richmond:
Ellis, Vlastuin, Newman, Knights, Arnot  
North Melbourne: Harvey, Swallow, Ziebell, Currie, Cunnington
 
INJURIES
Richmond:
O'Hanlon (cut head)
North Melbourne: Nil
 
Reports: Nil
 
Umpires: Bannister, Findlay, Fisher
 
Official crowd: 20,309