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Conservative pre-season has top Roo ready for R1

Key Kangaroos on track to full fitness North Melbourne pre-season update with Nick Bowen and Matt Thompson

NORTH Melbourne skipper Jack Ziebell expects to play in his team's opening JLT Community Series clash against St Kilda on March 2 despite an injury-interrupted pre-season.

North announced on Monday Ziebell would continue as captain in 2019 for a third straight year and, along with vice-captain Robbie Tarrant, Shaun Higgins and Jamie Macmillan, would form an unchanged leadership group. 

Ziebell has endured a frustrating summer. Post-season knee surgery limited his work load before Christmas, while he has had to overcome two separate calf niggles since returning to full training.

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The 27-year-old told reporters on Monday he had overcome his latest calf injury, but would miss North's intraclub game at Arden St on Wednesday. 

"I'm pretty much back doing everything now. We sort of took a conservative approach before Christmas to make sure there were no hiccups leading into round one and so far it's worked a treat," Ziebell said.

"So I'm very, very close. I won't play this Wednesday. I actually did a big session today and probably should be playing Wednesday considering how big the session was today. 

"My aim is JLT1 to play some footy there and back it up a week later in JLT2."


Ziebell was confident he had done enough conditioning work to set himself him up for a strong home and away season. 

"Over probably the last month I've done a fair bit of work, so it's not like I'm coming off nothing," he said.  

"I'm quite happy with where I'm positioned at the moment personally for 2019."