Cunnington back as North eye AFL response

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North Melbourne will welcome back grunt midfielder Ben Cunnington against the Western Bulldogs while top draft pick Will Phillips will debut as the Kangaroos seek a quick response to their lacklustre start to the AFL season.

The Kangaroos are coming off the back of back-to-back thumpings and coach David Noble said there had been an "honest" review of Saturday's 59-point loss to Gold Coast, emphasising a need for more "combativeness".

"We need to respond. We need to continue to learn as we go," Noble told reporters on Wednesday.

"The element that we learned from last week is that you have to be on point all the time.

"You've got to bring that level of competitiveness.

"Our ball movement's in pretty reasonable shape, we're still working on our defence.

"But at the end of the day, we've just got to have that reliability to continue to compete.

"That's what our fans want to see; they want to come to Friday's game and see us respond."

No.3 draft pick Phillips will debut in AFL games record-holder Brent Harvey's No.29 guernsey, which was previously retired when the Kangaroos great ended his playing days in 2016.

"It's just another number I've got to make my own, obviously I'm super grateful to be wearing 29," Phillips said.

"It's got a rich history at this club and (I'm) looking forward to hopefully living up to that expectation without (it) weighing me down at all and just can't wait to pull it on, on Friday."

Cunnington has recovered from a pre-season concussion but spent the first two rounds of North's campaign building his fitness.

"The injury that he's had has been concussion, (but) the last couple of weeks it's just been the load issue for us," Noble said.

"I pushed pretty hard last week to bring him in.

"But based on just the speed of the game, which has ramped up a little bit, we just needed to have that one more week to get him going."

Kyron Hayden (hamstring) is also in the mix to face the Bulldogs but Luke McDonald (quad) and Trent Dumont (calf) are not yet ready.

Noble rejected any suggestion North's presence in a Good Friday game should be called into question, saying if that was the case other marquee fixtures should be opened up.

The game is no longer a standalone fixture, with Adelaide to host Gold Coast in the later match, but Noble said the Kangaroos' form should not impede their ability to host a one-out game.