NORTH Melbourne will continue using Jack Ziebell in a smaller forward line ahead of this week's Good Friday clash with the Western Bulldogs, after the captain's successful return to the attack last week.
Ziebell, who has been used predominantly in the backline throughout coach David Noble's tenure, kicked five goals in last Saturday's narrow defeat to Sydney after he was surprisingly swung forward from the start of the game.
The 31-year-old, who started his career as a midfielder, has enjoyed successful stints as a target inside-50 and was a prolific forward option throughout a 35-goal campaign back in 2018.
He's now likely to remain forward for the foreseeable future, with his importance in the role likely to grow this week in the absence of Cam Zurhaar after he entered the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols.
"Yeah, he trained (forward) this week," Noble said on Thursday.
"I suggested he had a run through the midfield, but the midfielders weren't too happy with that. But, no, he'll stay forward."
North Melbourne will take a smaller and more dynamic forward line into Friday's important clash with the Bulldogs, with youngster Eddie Ford a chance to return after being sidelined last week due to the League's health and safety protocols.
First-year forward Paul Curtis is also a chance to make his AFL debut in place of Zurhaar, while midfielder Tom Powell is another being considered, though key position option Charlie Comben is unlikely to make his first appearance of the year.
"There's a couple that will come back into calculations for us," Noble said.
"Whether it's Eddie Ford, Tom Powell or Paul Curtis … he's been around the mark, but didn't have a (VFL) game last week. We'll finalise that in the next couple of hours in match committee.
"Probably not at Marvel Stadium (for Comben). I think the balance of how we looked last week, it's a consideration but it's probably not the way we want to go.
"The balance we looked at last week with Nick Larkey, Jack Ziebell and Cam Zurhaar, we had some real mobility and some real strike points. I guess we'll try and replicate that a little bit more."
This week will be North Melbourne's fifth Good Friday match and its second straight against the Bulldogs, with Noble reiterating the importance of both the fixture and the crucial money and awareness it raises for the Royal Children's Hospital's Good Friday Appeal.
"It's important, you've got to respect the occasion," Noble said.
"That's the essence that I think our players understand, that in these marquee games there's a bigger meaning to them than just being out there and playing footy.
"I think under those circumstances, you need to respect and understand the importance of these games to other people."