REIGNING North Melbourne best and fairest Luke McDonald has declared he wants to build on a breakout season and become "one of the best defenders in the competition".
After starting 2020 as a tagger opposed to the likes of Marcus Bontempelli and Dustin Martin, McDonald shifted to half-back and averaged more than 25 disposals per game across the final nine matches.
Now, under new coach David Noble, the 26-year-old will settle in defence to combat the heavy turnover of players that saw 13 fresh faces arrives at Arden Street.
"I just want to play the best position for the team, and I reckon at the moment that's in the backline, especially with a few experienced guys leaving at the end of last year," McDonald said on Monday.
"There's a lot of exciting mids in there now with (No.3 pick) Will Phillips, Jy (Simpkin), Lukey Davies-Uniacke is flying on the track… I'll probably start down back.
"I really feel like I see the game well behind the ball.
"I'm not resting on my laurels and I really want to keep improving and try to be one of the best defenders in the competition, to be honest.
"It's easy to have one good year, (but) you want to be a consistent player that has good years that everyone expects to have a good year."
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McDonald will partner with former Vic Metro teammate Aidan Corr in the backline with their weekly defenders' dinners to resume this Wednesday after a pause due to COVID-19.
"As a defender, you're a team within a team and you rely so much on each other," he said.
"It's been awesome having someone like Aidan Corr come in from another club (GWS).
"(He's) someone I've always admired playing against him and we played Vic Metro together, so I know he's going to fit in like a glove with guys like Robbie Tarrant and Shaun Atley.
"He's just an ultimate competitor and you can't have too many of those blokes."
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The Roos were put through around 40 minutes of match simulation on Monday morning with McDonald highlighting 18-year-old small forward Phoenix Spicer's two goals worthy of a "three-vote" performance.
He also pointed to draftee Eddie Ford as a player to watch through pre-season.
"I've played on him a bit at training and he was running around crazy and thought I'm going to have to try and put him on his arse," McDonald said.
"I bumped him, and he pushed me back straight away and I thought, 'Yep, he's going to be alright this kid'."
Midfielder Trent Dumont was absent from the session as he deals with tightness that will likely sideline him for a further week, while Aaron Hall, Kayne Turner and Flynn Perez were on light duties.