North's Firrito set to eye midfield - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North's Firrito set to eye midfield

By Roger Vaughan 28/03/2009 04:11:45 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne utility Michael Firrito is asked what he prefers in the AFL - playing at full-back on Brendan Fevola or running through the midfield.

He laughs ruefully and replies: "Is that a trick question?"

Like any backman, Firrito is relishing the chance to play further up the ground.

He started having on-ball roles towards the end of last season and North have made no secret that they want him to add to their midfield depth.

The Kangaroos open their season on Sunday against Melbourne at the MCG.

"It's pretty rewarding - the thing about the backline, you need a fair bit of help," he said.

"A lot (depends) on what's going on around you, I suppose - we've got a pretty young backline, hopefully I can help them out as much as I can and put on lots of pressure, win the ball.

"I certainly prefer to play through the midfield and all of that - wherever I'm best for the side.

"(Defence) can be the best spot in the world or the worst spot in the world."

Firrito's evolving role is typical of what is happening at Arden Street as coach Dean Laidley works to develop the side.

North finished last season woefully, losing their last three games and taking eighth spot.

"We're pretty excited, the so-called experts have written us off, as they normally do this time of year," Firrito said.

The Demons are equally determined to start the season well, having finished bottom last year, and Firrito knows they will be tough opposition.

"Our 2006 season was quite deplorable and we bounced back well in 2007 - they're in a similar position," he said.

"We'll be on our toes, because they will be vastly-improved.

"We went out and watched them the week before, they were quite good.

"We will certainly be wary of them."

North suffered a blow on Thursday night when Liam Anthony was ruled out for up to six weeks with a stress fracture.

Anthony was set to make his AFL debut this weekend after a solid pre-season.

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