North to roll out recruits in AFL opener

·2-min read

North Melbourne could blood up to seven new faces in David Noble's first AFL game as Kangaroos coach.

A new era begins for North on Sunday as they host premiership fancies Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium.

Off-season recruits Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood), Aidan Corr (Greater Western Sydney), Lachie Young (Western Bulldogs) are all locked in to debut in the blue and white stripes.

But Noble says last year's draftees Will Phillips, Tom Powell, Charlie Lazzaro and Phoenix Spicer are also in contention to tackle the Power.

"It could be as many as (seven club debutants)," Noble said on Friday.

"It's a group that we believe our fans can actually connect and grow with.

"That's the exciting thing that we feel as a football club, it's a brand new group that want to make a mark."

The Kangaroos are embarking on a genuine rebuild for the first time in the AFL era after finishing 17th last season - their worst-ever placing.

But with the former Brisbane Lions football boss coming on board, Noble will have time to develop the young group.

It is not all youth at Arden St with captain Jack Ziebell fit again after a torrid run with injury last year and is expected to make his mark in defence.

"There's been some media questioning his move back there but he's still learning the role," Noble said of Ziebell.

"The thing that I've been massively impressed with about the skipper is his willingness to get better and learn the role.

He has to work on a couple of side pieces in his defence but he's willing to take that feedback on board.

Fellow veteran Ben Cunnington will miss the clash with the Power as he looks for fitness after being sidelined due to a concussion.

In a blow for the club, North have confirmed three-gamer Flynn Perez will undergo a second knee reconstruction after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at training this week.