MIDFIELDER Paul Ahern's wait for a senior recall is over.
AFL.com.au understands the 22-year-old former Giant will be in North Melbourne's 22 to face Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
Jed Anderson and Mason Wood – in place of ruck recruit Tom Campbell, who played the past fortnight as Ben Brown's forward sidekick – are expected to join Ahern, with the Roos making a minimum of three changes.
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Third-year forward Nick Larkey, last year's Frosty Miller Medal winner as the VFL's leading goalkicker, missed out on selection.
Ahern averaged 21.2 disposals (9.5 contested), 3.8 inside 50s and 3.2 clearances in the first 11 matches of his AFL career last year after overcoming two knee reconstructions that delayed his debut.
He racked up 26 possessions then 21 and three goals in his two JLT Community Series games against St Kilda and Port Adelaide, respectively, but North left him out in round one.
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It is believed Ahern's defensive efforts in transition were one reason it has taken him until now to return to AFL ranks.
However, coach Brad Scott said mid-week before last week's loss to Hawthorn, which left the Kangaroos without a win through three rounds, Ahern would still play a major role this year.
"Paul had a terrific season last year, he had a good pre-season (and) he's fitter than he's ever been, so he'll play a big part in our campaign in 2019," Scott said.
"With seven new faces in our team, we're trying to work out what the best mix is right at the moment and our job is to pick the team we think's going to get the job done on the weekend.
"But I can tell you from the bigger picture, Paul Ahern's certainly in it and he's going to play an influential part in 2019 – it's just a matter of when, not if."
Ahern sat out last Saturday night's VFL game as North Melbourne's match-day emergency for the Hawks match and will be a welcome addition to the midfield rotation.
Wood was pulled from the same VFL contest before half-time due to calf 'awareness', but trained well on Wednesday and pending a setback he will be in Scott's side this weekend.