Aaron Edwards has been a key player in Richmond's past two games after earning a recall
It was disappointing to lose Azza, but we had to keep moving forward. I hope he doesn't hurt us
NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott knows more than anyone how Aaron Edwards can turn a match.
And he is wary of what the ex-Kangaroos forward may turn on for new club Richmond against his side at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
A mercurial player whose flashes of brilliance and big goal hauls can win games, he has also been anonymous and inconsistent in just as many others.
But he appears to have found a new level of consistency and involvement for the Tigers - with two outstanding performances against the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in successive weeks since breaking into Richmond's side.
North Melbourne made the decision to let the 29-year-old go at the end of last season - Scott wanting to give others like emerging Aaron Black and Majak Daw a chance to develop.
But he is thrilled Edwards, who still lives with Kangaroos player Levi Greenwood and is fondly thought of at his old club, has found a niche at Richmond.
He believes Edwards has added another dimension to an already dangerous forward line.
"I'm really pleased to see him get another opportunity at AFL level - I think he deserves it," Scott said on Friday.
"But if you look at our side now - we'd have love to have kept him - but we really felt if Aaron Edwards stayed on our list, then Aaron Black would have been playing the VFL.
"Majak Daw wouldn't have had his opportunity this year. We're fortunate in terms of the number of key position forwards we've had on our list.
"It was disappointing to lose Azza, but we had to keep moving forward. I hope he doesn't hurt us."
Just like Richmond counterpart Damien Hardwick, Scott believes the two clubs have been developing similarly for several years.
But while the Tigers are comfortably floating in the top eight, North's 5-8 win-loss record has been dotted with narrow losses which could have been parlayed into a far higher ladder position.
"They've really improved and we think we've improved, without getting the results. This game will probably tell us a lot," Scott said.
Richmond will again be without ruckman Ivan Maric with a groin injury, but first-year revelation Nick Vlastuin returns from his shin problem.
Without suspended small forward Lindsay Thomas, the Kangaroos have elevated midfielder Ben Cunnington to the side.