NORTH Melbourne will head to this week's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft with two picks and an eye on talls to complement their midfielders-first policy at last year's national draft.
The Kangaroos are set to take Sandringham Dragons key forward Jacob Edwards with the No.1 choice, but are also planning on using their second selection when names are called on Wednesday night.
The club wanted to build from the midfield out at last year's national draft, selecting ball-getters Will Phillips (No.3 pick), Tom Powell (No.13) and Charlie Lazzarro (No.36) with their first three choices.
>> Watch the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft live and exclusively on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App
They chose Phillips ahead of key forward Logan McDonald and tall defender Denver Grainger-Barras, and North's head of player personnel Scott Clayton said the mid-season draft looked set to provide opportunities to add to their talls stocks.
"We certainly had to improve our midfield [last year] and get some run and carry straight up to be able to get the ball down forward and to stop it getting into defence as much, and talls often take a bit longer," Clayton told the Road to the Draft podcast.
"We decided to go that way and we're fortunate now that there's a couple of very good talls in this mid-season draft that might complement the midfielders that we took in the national draft."
North plans on again investing heavily in the 2021 draft pool at the end of the year as it reset its list at the end of last season and started its rebuild through the draft, with the Kangaroos taking an open mind into this year's off-season.
"We do a lot of work strategically on positions and where and when we need to fill those. We're still in the market for all areas," Clayton said.
The last-placed Roos currently hold pick No.1 in the national draft and Clayton said two players – Collingwood father-son prospect Nick Daicos and South Australian Jason Horne – had elevated themselves as the leading players in the draft pool so far.
But he said clarity on the order would take more time to achieve this season with Victorian prospects still picking up the pace of the campaign after missing last year due to COVID-19.
"That's to be expected when you look at last year and the amount of footy that guys didn't play," Clayton said.
"It shows you again and is a good lesson for the future that you just need to train and develop athletes because it just does not happen.
"It's all the circumstance, what's happened happen, nobody can turn back the clock, but the year off and the slow start and they've had to be organised around COVID in getting back. But we're hopeful that over the next couple of months, and it might become September, that they're all firing and give us all a good sight and confidence to go forward with them, which I'm sure will happen."
Watch the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft live and exclusively on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App.
With all the picks, expert analysis, and interviews with clubs and draftees, tune in to the comprehensive coverage of the mid-season draft from 6.30pm AEST on Wednesday, June 2.