MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Jy Simpkin of the Kangaroos handballs during the round 17 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

New North Melbourne development coach Brendan Whitecross has been pleased with what he’s seen so far this season from the young Roos, but believes two players stand out above the rest ahead of what could be breakout seasons for the pair.

After he was delisted by Hawthorn, Whitecross joined the Roos during the off-season, and is already buoyed by Jy Simpkin and Mason Wood.

“Jy Simpkin has stood out massively throughout the preseason, and so has Mason Wood,” Whitecross told SEN Breakfast.

“They’ve been two that have really stood out.”

Simpkin played all 22 games for the Roos last season and averaged 14.9 disposals, 3.6 tackles and 2.7 clearances, while Wood played 13 and finished with 22 goals, the best return of his career to date.

“I’ve been pretty impressed with what I’ve seen in the first six weeks working there,” Whitecross added.

“It’s a really, really good environment to be coaching in, the group is a little bit young and lacks a bit of experience, but what they lack in that department, they certainly have got the energy and the hunger to go on and have some success this year.”

North Melbourne finished one win and percentage outside the top eight last season, and will begin their 2019 campaign with favourable matches against Fremantle (A) and Brisbane (H).