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I have to change, admits 'ball player' Ziebell

Nick Bowen  June 5, 2013 8:04 PM

Ziebell's late hit Robust Roo collects another opponent
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North's Jack Ziebell is sitting out three games for a high bump

I don't line blokes up and go out of my way to hurt people … but I just can't keep getting guys high
A FRUSTRATED Jack Ziebell concedes he has to make minor changes to his game in the wake of his third lengthy suspension for a bump in less than two years.
 
Speaking for the first time since his three-week suspension for a high bump on Crow Jarryd Lyons, Ziebell told NMFC.com.au he would not tone down his attack on the ball and opponents, but had to learn to stay on the ground at contests to avoid further suspensions.
 
"I don't think I will change the way I attack the ball, that's probably one of my greatest strengths as a player," the North Melbourne vice-captain said.
 
"I'm used to attacking the ball with ferocity and I consider myself a ball player – I think I'm really hard at the footy.
 
"I don't line blokes up and go out of my way to hurt people … but I just can't keep getting guys high because it's just costing me too many games."
 
Boomer backs Jack's attack

Ziebell said he was confident he could change his game, even though so many decisions around a contest are made in a split-second.
 
"As hard as it will be to change, practice makes perfect and it's a skill I have to learn," he said.
 
"It's something that can be worked on and I have to do a fair bit of work on it."
 
Ziebell said 10 years ago, a player who missed 10 games through suspension in less than two years would have seen as a "dirty" player.
 
But he was adamant he was a ball player, saying his bumps on Lyons, Carlton's Aaron Joseph (four-week suspension, round 16, 2012) and St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt (three weeks, round 23, 2011) had been harshly punished.
 
"I was shocked to start with genuinely because I thought what I did wasn't bad," Ziebell said of the Lyons suspension.
 
"I didn't think it deserved a week to tell you the truth. I knew I had a bad record, but I believe the record that I've got has been derived from previous suspensions that, again, I don't think deserved the punishment that I got."
 
Ziebell said he was especially frustrated to be sidelined when he had started 2013 in good form and was fully fit.
 
Ziebell missed large chunks of his first two seasons at North with broken legs, but said being sidelined through suspension was far more frustrating.
 
"When you're suspended, you're fully fit and you almost feel like you're letting the team down in the sense that you're not out there helping the team win," he said.
 
Nick Bowen covers North Melbourne news for AFL.com.au.Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nick