North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has hailed the mentoring role Jarrad Waite has played with Mason Wood, after the recalled forward headlined a trio of strong comeback performances.
Wood, who hadn't played a senior game for more than ten months, kicked 4.0 in North's two-point away win over Sydney at the SCG on Saturday.
Called in to replace a rested Waite, Wood tallied 18 possessions and nine marks in addition to his career best AFL goal haul.
Injury prone Wood had played just 26 games in his first four seasons with his 2017 campaign cruelled by hamstring, calf and knee problems and he broke a thumb in the 2018 pre-season.
Scott said Wood was a more complete footballer after working on all facets of his game.
"You saw tonight what he was able to do offensively, but we wanted to work on rounding out his game a little bit," Scott said.
"One of the reasons we were very very keen to have Jarrad Waite around this year was to help work with our young keys forwards.
"Waitey has certainly done that with Mason and with Waitey out tonight Mason filled the breach beautifully.
"He has played 27 games and he's played six or seven really good ones like that.
"But the challenge for a forward is consistency and the really top line forwards in the competition find ways to contribute even when they aren't dominating on the scoreboard.
'I think Ben Brown has been able to do that for us this year, even when he's not dominating and kicking six or seven goals, he's able to contribute in other ways, so that's Mason's next challenge."
North also got strong performances out of their two other recalled players.
Midfielder Shaun Higgins, who missed last week with concussion, accumulated a match-high 32 possessions.
"He's as professional a footballer as I've seen in my time in the game," Scott said.
'He certainly adds a different dimension to our midfield."
He said Sam Wright, who collected 18 possessions and seven marks in his first senior game in just over 700 days, fitted back seamlessly into the defence.
"We're very, very happy to have Sam back, he's a steadying influence." Scott said.
One negative for North was a knee injury to defender Ed Vickers-Willis, who was on crutches after the game, with Scott hopeful the injury wasn't too bad.