Jy Simpkin leads out the team ahead of the match between North Melbourne and Gold Coast at Blundstone Arena in round 24, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

NORTH Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin believes the Kangaroos' "anywhere, anytime" mentality will be pivotal as they look to lift themselves up the ladder this season.

Simpkin says the young side's shift in mindset over the pre-season has them believing that anything is possible in 2024.

The Kangaroos have finished in the bottom two for four straight seasons, with just 12 wins over that time.

"Everyone on the list now is getting sick of being where we are," Simpkin told reporters on Tuesday.

"The change of mindset [has been the biggest shift]. Everyone's working a lot harder, everyone knocked off 10-15 seconds off their PBs in the tests that we've done and that's showing where the group's at. We're starting to mature a bit more which is good to see.

"When you do get into two, three seasons of losing you just go into games thinking 'I hope we're going to win' instead of believing you're going to win. So I think just getting that mindset in the young group is going to be crucial for us.

"The coaches who have come in, they don't want to be down the bottom either so I think it's just a combination of the whole club being sick of being at the bottom and I think we want to make change.

"I can't really put a number on where we'll get to but we're going to improve, I know that for sure. I've got no doubt."


While Simpkin, who signed a five-year contract extension last year which will tie him to the club until the end of 2029, was the standout on his return to training post-Christmas, taking out the club's 2km time trial on Monday, he said it's the Roos' young brigade that have caught his eye over the pre-season.

But there's one young gun in particular - draftee Colby McKercher - who he's tipped to have a big impact in his first season.

The Kangaroos selected the Tasmanian midfielder at pick No.2 in the 2023 AFL Draft before taking Zane Duursma at No.4.

"You don't see too many first-year draftees come into the club and you sit back and watch training and go 'holy crap'," Simpkin said.

"[McKercher's] dominating training out there so that's awesome to see.

"Then you've got Zane Duursma come in and doing the same stuff, and the usual guys like Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw are pushing each other, Cam Zurhaar has come back in awesome nick so I'm just really excited to get to the start of the season and see what we can do."

Zane Duursma and Colby McKercher pose for a photo during the AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 20, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Simpkin said he'd be "very surprised" if McKercher didn't feature in the Kangaroos' round one side to face Greater Western Sydney.

The 18-year-old could be deployed off the half-back line in a similar way to what Rising Star winner Sheezel was in his dominant debut season.

"[He'll play] wherever we need him I think. He's one of those players that can play mid, back, forward, on the wing. He's dominated training, he's been playing a little bit of half-back, a little bit rebound defender, and he's been going really well."

North will play its first game of the season against GWS on Saturday, March 16 at Giants Stadium.