BEING injury-free has been the driving force behind key defender Lachie Hansen's impressive start to the season, says North Melbourne coach Brad Scott.
The 28-year-old free agent has rediscovered his form in 2017 after having no luck last year, when he played just five senior games.
Scott said there was no mystery as to why Hansen is performing well: he was no longer playing hurt.
"Lachie played under some pretty severe duress last year and he was tough enough to get out there and play, but [he] certainly wasn't at his best," Scott said.
Hansen is averaging seven marks a game this season, floating in front of contests in the Kangaroos' back half.
Apart from the odd lapse – such as a risky kick inboard against the Gold Coast in round six – he uses the ball well by foot and hand.
Scott said Hansen, who is a free agent, was also benefiting from playing in a more settled backline.
"We did not have a back half with any stability through the year last year as well," Scott said.
"I think it is a combination of all those factors and Lachie is going really well, and it comes off the back of a good pre-season and full fitness."
Meanwhile, Scott endorsed North Melbourne's bid to expand its headquarters to create a massive inner-city training complex.
"We're keen to make this our base indefinitely, but clearly we need to grow our facilities and grow the resources that we can put around our players," Scott said.
"If we're not looking 20 [to] 50 years in advance then we are going to get landlocked, so it's a critical redevelopment proposal for the footy club."
Scott said fulfilling such plans were vital to ensuring North Melbourne stayed in its heartland, and he was excited about the club's prospects.
"North Melbourne has never been in a better spot. When you look at where the club is from an off-field perspective, when you look on-field, I think there is a lot to look forward to."