North Melbourne remain in "constant dialogue" with free agent Ben McKay despite the defender's plans to put contract plans on hold.

McKay is the biggest fish on the Kanagroos' list that remains unsigned beyond this year, with the key backman expected to attract interest from rival clubs throughout the course of 2022.

To make matters more concerning, McKay is set to assess his options after the home and away season gets underway, likely making a call on his future in the second half of the year.

McKay is a key piece in the Roos' plans for the future, with the club looking to build a staunch rearguard at Arden Street as they plot a path back toward premiership contention.

Speaking on the club's intraclub live stream on Saturday morning, North Melbourne list manager Brady Rawlings said while the situation isn't ideal the club understands McKay's decision to delay contract talks.

"He's super important to us at North Melbourne," Rawlings said.

"We've got Aidan Corr and Griffin Logue, three players down back that can get us to where we want to get to in the future years.

"We're in constant dialogue with his management. I think when a player wants to start the season and then have talks later on that's their prerogative, but the sooner we can have those talks the better."

The Roos are set to keep an open mind on their scouting plans this year, with Rawlings and his team set to take on a more "fluid" approach.

With most of their pieces in place for the future, the club is hopeful holes in their squad will be filled by their emerging talent in 2023.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 13: Ben McKay of the Kangaroos leads thje team off at half time during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval on August 13, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

"That'll be a bit fluid this year," Rawlings said on the club's recruitment process.

"We've obviously got a lot of guys vying for spots, we've identified a few areas that we think we might need to (bolster).

"But having said that, we have a few players on our list that might be able to come up and take those spots

"We have identified a few things, but hopefully some of these guys step up and fill some of those spots for us."

The Roos have aggressively pursued new talent through the draft in recent years as they work through an extended rebuild, having taken six top-eight draft picks since the 2017 National Draft.

Rawlings was able to add Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw through last year's count with Picks 3 and 4 respectively, while the trade period was also fruitful as North Melbourne secured Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker from Fremantle.

Now looking settled with their youthful stocks, the Kangaroos are set to place more attention toward acquiring mature aged talent as they look to find a balance between the draft and trade/free agency.

"We want to be able to do both over the coming years," Rawlings said.

"We've had an emphasis on bringing in top-end talent through the draft and we've certainly stripped the salary cap back a bit to help us get in some mature talent

"We're trying to blend that all together to get the right ages in there... a blend of mature talent and top-end draft talent."

Both Sheezel and Logue were among the standouts for North Melbourne in their intraclub hitout at Arden Street on Saturday, with the latter showing no sign of a groin complaint from earlier in the pre-season.

The former Docker will look to work alongside both McKay and Aidan Corr on Alastair Clarkson's last line, however Corr is also needing to manage a calf issue sustained this summer.

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Sheezel was also a member of the back-third brigade in the scratch match, floating at half-back in what was seen as an experimental role for the Ajax product.

joining the club as the top-rated small forward in his class, the teenager could be trialled across all three lines in his debut season as Clarkson looks to find more flexibility from within his squad.

The Roos will have two pre-season matches in the coming weeks against Richmond and the Western Bulldogs before their Round 1 bout with West Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, March 19.