North Melbourne is a team very firmly in the middle of no man’s land.
A game out of finals last year, now they are not quite good enough to be contending for finals but not quite bad enough to be potential wooden spooners.
They are now a high-pressure side that wants to tackle hard and often in order to win the ball back in their forward half, moving the ball quickly when they get it.
In the 10 games Brad Scott coached in 2019 North averaged 52 tackles a game. In the 3 games Rhyce Shaw has coached this year the Kangas have averaged 67 tackles a game.
— @TheTruthNMFC (@TheTruthNMFC) June 16, 2019
The issue much of the media has had is that North’s list is poor and not set up for future success, meaning that they need to trade away their older stars in return for high draft picks.
This could not be further from the truth.
To begin with, in terms of young players, North is in the best position it has been in for a decade.
Tarryn Thomas, Cameron Zurhaar and Bailey Scott have received Rising Star nominations through the first 13 rounds and the likes of Jy Simpkin, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Nick Larkey, although inconsistent, have found some for and shown flashes of brilliance.
What the Kangaroos need to do is craft these youngsters into the stars they have the potential to be.
Trading away the likes of Higgins, Cunnington and Goldstein will not benefit the young players and will likely set the club back a handful of years.
When Brad Scott left the club, the Roos had a season-best win over the Tigers where the senior players stood up, Cunnington, Ben Brown and skipper Jack Ziebell in particular.
Getting rid of these players is not going to immediately mature the younger players by giving them a bigger role than they had previously instead it will heap pressure on to them to be the definitive next generation straight away.
This was illustrated by North’s midfield struggles against GWS with Higgins injured and Cunnington tagged out of the game.
It is true that North are stuck at the moment and in need of fresh ideas and that is where Rhyce Shaw comes into the equation.
The North players are already well behind the new coach and are buying into the style Shaw wants to enforce.
After ten years of Brad Scott a change of direction is needed but it is not needed straight away.
Let Shaw, or whoever takes over the coaching job in 2020, mold the club in the way they want.
Let the young players develop naturally and let the senior players help move the club forward.
The Shinboner Spirit is not worth a few draft picks.