NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott has hailed a changing of the guard in his side's forward line after Mason Wood's match-winning performance against Sydney.
Scott described Wood, who booted four goals, as "the dominant forward on the ground" after North upset the Swans by two points at the SCG on Saturday night.
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With veteran Kangaroos forward Jarrad Waite rested for the clash, Wood seized his first opportunity of the season in the 9.14 (68) to 9.12 (66) triumph.
The 24-year-old capped a brilliant night when he kicked truly deep in fourth-quarter red time to put the visitors in front.
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"You saw tonight what he's able to do offensively, but we wanted to work on rounding out his game a little bit and one of the reasons we were very keen to have Jarrad Waite around this year was to work with our young key forwards, and 'Waitey' has certainly done that with Mason," Scott said.
"With Waitey out tonight, Mason certainly filled the breach beautifully."
Coleman Medal leader Ben Brown kicked only one major but played an important role for the Roos around the ground, taking several relieving marks in defence and spending periods in the ruck.
Wood's influence also went further than the scoreboard. In his 27th AFL appearance, the emerging talent had 18 touches – half of them in contests – and took nine marks.
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"He (Wood) is a terrific athlete so he works up and down the ground," Scott said.
"It wasn't just his work in the forward half either, he got up and gave us a way out of our defence at times and took some really strong marks when we needed him to.
"We've wanted to get him back in our side for a while but he's had a few niggling injuries.
"He also had some things that we wanted him to work on, because he's obviously a very capable player, and when you have players that clearly have the capabilities to play good AFL footy, they can sometimes not quite understand when the coaching staff want them to go back and work on some things.
"To his credit, he did that and I think he's a more complete footballer for it."
Young defender Ed Vickers-Willis (knee) was on crutches after the game, with Scott hopeful the injury was a more manageable posterior cruciate ligament complaint, rather than something more sinister.