JED ANDERSON is set to make his club debut for North Melbourne in the Roos' opening NAB Challenge clash against St Kilda, while key defender Robbie Tarrant should also return from injury in Saturday's game at Wangaratta.
North coach Brad Scott confirmed on Wednesday that the former Hawk would be selected in the Roos' squad of 26 for the Saints clash, and said Tarrant was likely to prove his fitness at training this week.
"We expect him to play this week," Scott said of Tarrant.
"He just got a knee in the back at training so we erred on the side of caution there in not playing him (in last Friday's intraclub game).
"But he'll train fully today and we expect him to play this weekend."
Shaun Higgins (knee) and Ben Jacobs (foot) also missed the Roos' intra-club match with minor injuries.
Scott expected Higgins to play against the Saints, and was confident Jacobs would play some part in the pre-season competition.
"We've probably got some guys in (Andrew) Swallow, (Jack) Ziebell, Higgins and Jacobs who we've got to try and balance their amount of game time throughout the NAB Challenge while also trying to expose some of our younger midfielders," he said.
"We're really confident that all of those guys will play throughout the NAB Challenge. It's just striking the balance as to which particular week they play."
Scott said North had yet to finalise its squad for Saturday's game but indicated 2015 draftees Ryan Clarke and Corey Wagner were among the youngsters the club was looking to blood this pre-season.
"Ryan Clarke has been terrific in our training so far and the same with young (Corey) Wagner," he said.
Anderson joined North in last year's trade period after struggling for opportunities in three seasons at Hawthorn, playing just 10 games in the Hawks' 2013-15 premiership years.
The Northern Territorian was in big demand, however, when he requested a trade last October, with his speed, flair and toughness highly appealing to clubs.
To trump its rival suitors, North traded its first-round and third-round picks (then No.15 and 55) for Anderson and the Hawks' two second-round picks (then No.38 and 40).
It was a high price. But the Roos are content with their acquisition.
"He's been very impressive. He's come out of a terrific system at Hawthorn and probably only been kept out of the side by a couple of All Australians at half-forward and through the midfield," Scott said.
"So he's going to get a good opportunity with us and he's fitted in well both on and off the field.
"His teammates speak really highly of him, so I think that's always a pretty good litmus test."
Tarrant shapes as an important player for North this year after establishing himself as a key defender in a career-best 2015 season.
Playing along Scott Thompson in the Roos' defensive 50, the former forward often took the opposition's most dangerous spearhead, holding his own against the likes of Tom Hawkins, Jarryd Roughead and Travis Cloke.
Tarrant also put two years of leg injuries behind him last season to play a career-high 22 games.