THE ADDITION of a host of budding young midfielders to North Melbourne's experienced onball group is exciting veteran Shaun Higgins, as the club continued to step up its preparations for season 2020.
The Kangaroos completed a heavy skills-focused session at Arden Street under the watchful eye of new coach Rhyce Shaw on Wednesday morning, alternating through a host of specific kicking and handball drills in blustery and difficult conditions.
A number of North Melbourne's older core rotated on and off the field throughout the session, with the club managing the loads of veterans like Higgins, Jamie Macmillan, Jack Ziebell and Robbie Tarrant.
Former All Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein was one of few players to not take part in any of the numerous drills, which spanned across 90 minutes, walking laps of Arden Street before eventually breaking into a light jog later in the session.
But it's the natural and still largely untapped talent of youngsters like Jy Simpkin, Tarryn Thomas and Luke Davies-Uniacke that caught the eye of their experienced teammate Higgins on Wednesday.
"We gave them a fair bit of midfield time last year," Higgins said after the session.
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"Particularly in the back end of the year, we found ourselves rotating a lot more through the high half-forward roles, on the wing and inside.
"We feel like the deeper we can go there, the better for the team. Hopefully the personnel continues to grow, with the likes of Jy, Tarryn, Luke and these guys getting game time. I'm sure that will continue to build this year."
Simpkin enjoyed a breakout season in the midfield last year, while Davies-Uniacke impressed in spurts and Thomas showed glimpses of his potential both through the centre and in the forward line.
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Their development will be further aided this season following the arrival of big-bodied midfielder Aiden Bonar, who was recruited from Greater Western Sydney during last October's Telstra AFL Trade Period.
Bonar has been working closely with dual best and fairest winner Ben Cunnington and appears set to be an instant addition to the club's midfield group ahead of its round one bout with St Kilda at Marvel Stadium in March.
"The size of him is obviously good," Higgins said of Bonar.
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"He works really well with 'Cunners' on the inside because he's so powerful.
"He's fitted in really well. He's got a great personality and he's a good character around the group. He's loving his time here and he's been training well and showing good signs in match sim.
"He's another one that is going to add to that midfield depth."