NORTH Melbourne vice-captain Jack Ziebell is determined to raise his game this season and find a groove of consistency.
Ziebell, who turned 25 last Sunday, enters his eighth AFL season this year on the back of a career-best fifth-place finish in North's 2015 best and fairest award.
On his day, Ziebell is a match-winner. At 188cm and 88kg, he is an imposing presence at stoppages and provides a ferocious aerial contest when resting in attack.
In 2015, he almost singlehandedly lifted the Roos over the line in their stirring round 10 win against West Coast in Hobart, while he was also outstanding in wins over Essendon (29 possessions and two goals in round seven; 23 and three in round 16) and Carlton (26 and two).
However, Ziebell also had 17 or fewer possessions in nine of his 24 games last season.
Ziebell told AFL.com.au on Tuesday that he still had "plenty of room for improvement" as a footballer.
"There's no footballer out there who is the perfect player. I'm definitely far from it, so I will be looking to take my game to new levels this year and hopefully our team can do the same as well," Ziebell said.
The former Murray Bushranger said one of his main focuses this pre-season had been improving his consistency.
"Just being able to get out there and train regularly in the pre-season is going to help that and making sure that I can back it up each week, and stay on the park nice and fit is one of the key factors in that," he said.
"I've done a lot of work in the gym to help that. So I'm looking forward to getting out there on Saturday (against Collingwood) and for the rest of the year and getting stuck into it."
North will play its second NAB Challenge match against the Magpies at Wagga Wagga on Saturday.
Ziebell expected senior regulars such as Todd Goldstein and Nick Dal Santo would return against the Pies after missing North's first pre-season game against St Kilda, with midfield star Daniel Wells also a chance to play his first AFL game since round two last season.
"He was pretty close last week, so he's been training really well. He's looking really fit, so hopefully we get to see him out there soon," Ziebell said of Wells.
Wagga Wagga is forecast to hit 38 degrees on Saturday, with the conditions likely to be sweltering when the teams take the field at 4.40pm.
However, Ziebell was unfazed by the forecast, saying the players would cope with the conditions given the AFL's heat policy and the teams' access to ice vests during games and ice baths afterwards.
"It should be fun for both teams," he joked.
Ziebell was speaking at North Melbourne Primary School in his capacity as an ambassador for Premier's Active April.
Active April encourages Victorians of all ages to commit to doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day for the month.