DESPITE the disruption of a rare pectoral injury, Joel Tippett has made the most of his third opportunity in the AFL, with the key defender earning a new two-year deal with North Melbourne.

Tippett joined North Melbourne in last year's rookie draft after earlier rookie stints with the Brisbane Lions (2007-09) and Gold Coast (2011).

The former basketballer played two senior games for the Suns and attracted North's attention after two standout seasons in the SANFL with West Adelaide.

But Tippett knew that at 25, and with a one-year deal in his hand, the 2014 season shaped as a make-or-break one.

"I wanted to just have a really good crack at things, and I was lucky to have a really good pre-season and get myself in good shape so I could really focus on having a good year," Tippett told on Tuesday.

"It's really exciting to be part of the playing group for another two years.

"I've worked pretty hard over the past couple of years to put myself in this position, and it's great that the club has recognised that and I'm just really excited to be part of it."

After impressing in North's pre-season games against Carlton and Hawthorn, Tippett made his club debut in round six against Fremantle.

He was understandably nervous before playing his first AFL game in three years, but the key defender looked at home manning Zac Clarke, keeping the Freo forward/ruckman goalless.

Tippett held his place for the Roos' next three games before tearing his right pectoral muscle in the round 10 loss against Geelong.

"To play the four games was great and I was just starting to feel a little bit more comfortable out there, so to get injured was pretty disappointing," Tippett said.

"But I guess that's footy and I just had to get back and focus on my rehab so I could get back for the end of the season."

Tippett returned two rounds ago in the VFL with North Ballarat and said his 'pec' had given him no trouble since.

"I was really confident. I had a really good rehab program and I didn't really think twice about it while I was out there," Tippett said of his comeback game against Geelong's VFL team.

"Once I laid my first tackle I was back into things, which was good.

"I was still able to run for most of the time I was out injured, so fitness wise things felt pretty good when I came back.

"It was more the contact side of things, tackling and having the confidence to mark and spoil that I had to get used to again."

Tippett played the entire game against the VFL Cats, keeping senior-listed Geelong forward Mitch Brown to one goal, but he left the ground during the third quarter of the Roosters' clash with Williamstown last Saturday after suffering a knock to his calf.

The key defender is hopeful he will be fit to play this weekend so he can continue to push for a spot in North's team ahead of its almost certain finals campaign.

"I've just got to try to play some good VFL football and put my hand up again for a senior spot," Tippett said.

"We're in a great position as a club, so hopefully we can have a great finals series."

Tippett also sees no reason why he can't play alongside fellow key defenders Scott Thompson, Nathan Grima and Lachlan Hansen as he did in the round seven loss to Gold Coast.

After that game, Grima was sidelined with a foot injury until round 20, meaning North has not yet had the opportunity to reunite the four tall defenders in the one team.

"We were pretty tall, but I think we're also pretty versatile as well," Tippett said.

"If I can just come in and play my role then hopefully we'll go pretty well.

"I know that I've got a few things that I've got to work on and I'll be pushing hard to make sure that I'm someone who is hard to play against in the key defensive post."

Twitter: @AFL_Nick.