NORTH Melbourne is confident small forward Kayne Turner will be fit to play in the club's next NAB Challenge match in two weeks' time, saying the hamstring injury he suffered against St Kilda on Saturday was minor.
Turner left the ground late in the first quarter of North's 44-point win over the Saints at Wangaratta's Norm Minns Oval, and did not return.
North coach Brad Scott told reporters after the match that Turner had been rested as part of a "no-risk policy".
"The message to me is [the doctors] thought they could get him right and get him back on the field," Scott said.
"He was a bit tight in the hamstring, so we've got a week off until our next game (against Collingwood) and the guys expect he'll be right for that.
"We'd expect him to play, but we certainly weren't going to take the risk of putting him back on."
Mason Wood's 4.2 return against St Kilda was one of the most pleasing aspects of Saturday's game for North.
The 192cm forward has played eight games in three seasons at Arden Street, and last year struggled to break into an attack where Drew Petrie, Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown were entrenched as the tall forwards.
Scott agreed that Wood had made a good start to his quest to cement a regular senior spot in 2016.
"We've trialled him in different positions, not just forward, because he's a very versatile player. He can play as a midfielder as well," Scott said.
"He's a bit of a prototypical modern-day endurance athlete/footballer, so he gives us good versatility.
"But I'm also looking forward to seeing Aaron Black in this NAB Challenge series. He's had a really good pre-season and that gives the match committee a bit of a headache."
Last year's All Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein looms as one of North's most important players again this season.
The reigning North best and fairest winner was rested on Saturday, with Majak Daw and Braydon Preuss sharing the ruck duties against the Saints.
Goldstein has been remarkably durable over the past few seasons, but if he does get injured in 2016 Daw and Preuss showed on Saturday that they should be capable understudies.
"I thought Braydon Preuss competed. As you can see he's a really good size for a ruck, about 205cm, and big and imposing," Scott said.
"He's also got himself really fit in the pre-season, so he's able to get from contest to contest now and really compete and can do it across the course of a game.
"That gives us a lot of confidence that we've got another ruckman coming through.
"And Majak has just taken another step forward with his versatility and his strength in the ruck and the marking contests."
Six players from North's 2015 preliminary final team didn't play against St Kilda – Ben Brown, Nick Dal Santo, Sam Gibson, Goldstein, Ben Jacobs and Lachie Hansen.
Scott expected most of them would be available for North's next pre-season game against Collingwood at Wagga Wagga on March 5, and said Black, Aaron Mullett and Robin Nahas were also likely to play.