As usual, here are our five key questions heading into today at the MCG against Melbourne. We’ll look back on how these played out in our Sunday morning review, along with everything else to come out of the game.
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How much time will Ziebell spend forward?
Assuming Frost plays back, North will need a third marking forward option to keep Lever accountable, which is where Ziebell comes into considerations.
The dilemma is whether a lot of forward time for the captain means you’re weakening the midfield too much; you can get away with it more easily against Gold Coast and St Kilda, compared to Melbourne.
Or potentially there is a late change – Mason Wood is an emergency, despite all indications pointing to Wood having more work to do to get back into the AFL side.
How will the defence stop Melbourne’s ball movement?
The Demons’ ball movement is much more dynamic than North’s first two opponents. Add in perfect Saturday afternoon conditions at the MCG, and you’ve got the recipe for a fast game.
Of course, winning more of the ball at the source is the ideal way to prevent it, but aside from that, will there be more numbers around the ball? Sitting deep and absorbing pressure before countering the other way in transition from the back half?
What is up North’s sleeve?
In the JLT game, a comment by Sam Wright during his mid-match interview with Fox Footy stuck with me. He was talking about keeping things up their sleeve; while it was in relation to Ben Jacobs tagging, it came across as the sort of comment which suggested other factors were at play as well.
The obvious one was clearly team selection for that game – playing every tall defender ever at North Melbourne in the last two decades was a sign the line-up was hardly a best 22. What else is there though? An unexpected tag? Different forward setup? Someone else spending more time in the midfield?
What happens if either side gets out to an early lead?
We discussed how expectations change when you’re in a winning or losing streak. North hasn’t trailed Melbourne at quarter time of a game for seven years. If it’s a handy break North’s way at the first change, how does it affect the momentum of the game?
If it’s Melbourne who is three or four goals up at quarter time, do they keep rolling away from North and put up an insurmountable lead by the main break, or is it close again when the teams head back into the rooms?
Will we see #18?
I really hope so, but surely there is no way one AFL side can beat another 18 times in a row. No way at all.
Check back tomorrow morning where The Shinboner will have all the talking points to come from the MCG, and hopefully plenty of gifs.