Hugh Greenwood at North Melbourne training on December 8, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

HUGH Greenwood may still be juggling life in two different states right now, but the North Melbourne recruit has quickly made an impression inside Arden Street and could prove to be a vital inclusion in 2022.

The 29-year-old was one of the shock moves of last year when the Kangaroos shrewdly pinched Greenwood from Gold Coast, after the Suns delisted him in November with the intention of reselecting him in the NAB AFL Draft.

Those inside North Melbourne have been thrilled with Greenwood since he started training on December 5. The Tasmanian was one of the standouts during a taxing session in hot conditions on Friday morning, covering the ground strongly despite heavily strapped knees.

Greenwood has stripped five kilograms off his frame since the end of last season in a concerted effort to improve his running capacity, after his 2021 campaign ended prematurely due to an MCL tear.


But while the former Crow and Sun has relocated to Victoria, Greenwood's fiancée has remained on the Gold Coast with their two children and two dogs, waiting until they can buy a property in Melbourne. It has meant Greenwood has been flying back to the Gold Coast each weekend since and has been couch-hopping while searching long and hard for a permanent base for his young family.

The poaching of Greenwood could prove to be a masterstroke by Glenn Luff and Brady Rawlings, given the age profile of the Kangaroos' list and the uncertainty around the future of inside midfielder Jed Anderson.

Anderson, who is currently in Darwin, is yet to receive his second COVID-19 vaccination. He is completing a training program designed by North Melbourne's high performance department.

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The deadline for Victorian-based players to have two doses of a vaccine was November 26 but given Anderson has been based in the Northern Territory, he has until February 18 to receive his second dose.

The 27-year-old suffered an adverse reaction to the first dose and is understood to be hesitant to take a second jab, but North Melbourne is hopeful Anderson will be fully vaccinated before next month's deadline.

North Melbourne midfielder Jed Anderson in round 22, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Two-time Syd Barker medallist Ben Cunnington is recovering from a secondary cancer that was detected in late November.

The 30-year-old warrior was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July and underwent surgery to remove a tumour before a routine check-up discovered it had returned.

Cunnington is midway through a nine-week course of chemotherapy with the Kangaroos focused on the midfielder's health first and foremost before they contemplate his return to football.

With three or four clubs sniffing around when Gold Coast delisted Greenwood – including his former club Adelaide – the 83-gamer is set to assist No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis' transition from the SANFL into the AFL.


North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell returned to Arden Street this week along with Noble after exiting health and safety protocols.

Ziebell suffered a very mild case of COVID-19 and returned to the club on Monday but has been eased back into training.

No. 1 pick Jason Horne-Francis joined Ziebell in a small group of players, along with Aidan Corr, Aiden Bonar, Phoenix Spicer and Kyron Hayden, who are transitioning back into the main group after exiting isolation.

Victoria's Omicron wave has affected roughly half of North Melbourne's list in the past few weeks, with ruckman Todd Goldstein and boom forward Cameron Zurhaar missing Friday's session due to COVID-19.

Former Giant Bonar is the only injury concern right now after he aggravated an old wrist injury in early December.

The 2017 No.11 pick was initially expected to return to full training in March but completed some non-contact full ground drills on Friday and could be back ahead of schedule.