Why Tyson over Ahern is a good sign

If you’re a fan of the quality clickbait title, I appreciate you appreciating my work.

If you’re not a fan, then don’t stress – this post itself is going to be like all the others, hopefully containing some considered points. It’s still going to be the most unpopular one though.

For those who read The Shinboner last year, a quick programming note before we get on with things. Every game day in 2018 I had a ‘Five Questions’ post, but this year if there’s a more pressing pre-match topic – like this – it’ll supersede Five Questions. So it’ll pop up some weeks, but not all weeks.


Let me get the obvious out of the way first – I’m just as surprised as anyone that Paul Ahern wasn’t picked, and Dom Tyson was. While there have been responses across North’s social media channels suggesting other Roos should have been in the gun first, they’re all in different roles to what Ahern plays.

Luke McDonald – Half Back
Jasper Pittard – Half Back
Kayne Turner – Permanent forward
Jy Simpkin – Likely to split time between midfield and forward

It essentially came down to Ahern, Tyson and Luke Davies-Uniacke for the last two places in the midfield rotation.

To be clear – I’m not arguing it’s the right move. But what I do want to do is take a step back and take a silver lining out of it by asking the following question:

When was the last time North Melbourne had this sort of midfield depth?

This isn’t a debate over whether an untried 18-year-old should be given a shot. It’s a debate over whether a player who has proven his ability at AFL level should play instead of a 25-year-old with 107 games – 16 of those collecting 30+ disposals.

And – and – this conversation is being had while Jed Anderson is on the injury list.

There’s a difference between known depth and unknown depth. The unknown depth is often what supporters – from all clubs – spruik when talking about youngsters.

“Have you heard about our young guys, they’re going to dominate!”
“Wait until this guy makes his debut, he’s going to rip the competition apart.”
“We’ll be top four for ages when our young guys come through.”

Those lines, and variations of it, are common refrains. To be fair, sometimes it’ll be right. But the point is that it’s unknown until they play.

Here we have a situation where North has to decide between two proven midfielders while another sits on the sidelines.

Who could have predicted that 12 months ago?

PS. After all this, there’ll probably be a late change to render this post completely useless. Have a great weekend!


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