Shepparton: North Melbourne say they are prepared to work with key recruit Jarrad Waite as he seeks to avoid undisciplined acts like the one that sidelined him at a crucial time while at Carlton.
Waite was reported for striking in Sunday’s NAB Challenge match for a crude spoiling attempt that sent Hawks defender Ben Stratton to the ground in the first half.
Stratton was able to get to his feet without assistance and played on, so it is unlikely the report will turn into anything more than a fine – if that – under the new match review panel system.
That was certainly the way Brad Scott saw it, too, although the Roos coach did say the club had spoken to Waite about his history at Carlton of missing key games through suspension.
“One thing we noticed with Jarrad is that he jumps really well at the footy, and sometimes if he misjudges that jump, he gets himself into a terrible position so he either crashes into someone or it’s a clumsy spoil,” Scott said after the game.
“But I think as long as the intent is good, a bit like [Jack Ziebell] a few years ago, we will coach the intent — and if they make a mistake then we will try and work with them around getting it right.”
Scott was pleased with his team’s 13-point come-from-behind win against reigning premiers Hawthorn at Shepparton’s Deakin Reserve, 2.9.13 (85) to 1.9.9 (72), but wasn’t getting carried away with the result in a match in which the Roos also fared better on the injury front, albeit there was only minor concerns for the Hawks.
Midfielder Isaac Smith suffered a corked calf that might keep him out of a few training sessions but won’t have any impact on his home-and-away season, and stand-in Hawks coach Cameron Bruce confirmed that captain Luke Hodge could have returned to the ground if needed after he received a knee to the lower back late in the third quarter.
Scott said the Roos had found a couple of players who could be set for bigger contributions this season in the club’s quest to go from preliminary finalists to premiers.
He highlighted the performances of tough midfielder Leigh Adams (14 disposals, three tackles), whose impact has been affected by shoulder injuries, and VFL fringe player Mason Wood (10 disposals and one goal).
“Mason Wood is a player who we have really high expectations for,” Scott said.
“He’s still got some work to do on his game overall, but he’s got some really nice attributes. He’s a great competitor, works really hard and adds a completely different dimension to our team,” he said.
“And I thought Leigh Adams coming back from a few injuries was really good, particularly early, and I thought our back half performed infinitely better than it did last week.”
The Roos have a week off before their next game, as do the Hawks, who were buoyed by the output of recruits James Frawley (10 disposals) and Jono O’Rourke (11 disposals and two goals) and are looking forward to the return of ACL knee injury victim Brendan Whitecross in the match against St Kilda.
“I think he [Frawley] is only going to continue to get better, he’s going to get more comfortable. He had a much more experienced back line to deal with, which will definitely help him,” Bruce said after the game.
“He didn’t have the nerves that he had in the first game so I’m really confident that he will be able to contribute going forward,” he said.
“Jono [O’Rourke] looked fatigued late in the game, but I’m really happy with the way he is going.
“I think he offers both inside and outside the contest opportunities for us and he’ll be an important player going forward.”
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