North's big men face tough ask - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North's big men face tough ask

By Greg Buckle 10/07/2010 11:21:37 AM Comments (0)

North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein's match routine doesn't include "uppers" and "downers", but some angry pills would come in handy for Sunday's clash with Sydney.

Goldstein says Sydney's Shane Mumford is clearly one of the best big men in the AFL and his aggression at the contest is going to put massive pressure on North's ruck combination to meet fire with fire.

The ninth-placed Kangaroos (7-7) are poised to hop into the eight at Sydney's expense if North can win at the SCG for the first time since 2004.

Goldstein says reports players are taking caffeine tablets pre-game and sleeping tablets post-game without giving due consideration to the potential dangers are off the mark.

Richmond's Ben Cousins woke up in a Melbourne hospital on Tuesday after collapsing following a sleeping-pill drama last weekend.

"If players take it, they do it strictly under the doctor's supervision and after explaining the risks," Goldstein told AAP this week.

"Hopefully nothing unfortunate will happen to Ben and we all feel for him.

"I don't take caffeine but I'm sure there are players who do it."

The 30-game player admits he needs to take the fight to Mumford if North are to have a chance to post a winning score.

"Shane Mumford, just his hardness at the contest and the way he follows up, he has been one of the best in the competition this year," said Goldstein, 22.

"Hamish (McIntosh) and I have been looking at how hard he has been attacking the ball and if we can match him in that, it will go a long way to helping us win the stoppages and get the score on the board.

"Follow-up is a very important thing for a ruckman to have and he has been unbelievable at it this year. That is his biggest strength that we're looking at this week.

"Everyone has looked at players like Dean Cox. Once the ball hits the ground they become another midfielder and become very strong in their second and third efforts so that's really where we all want to head."

North will be boosted by the return of vice-captain Drew Petrie for only his second game this season while defender Robbie Tarrant makes his debut at 21.

Goldstein, who has beefed up to Mumford's weight of 105kg, is on a personal high after his 22-possession haul in a 35-point loss to the Cats, North's first defeat in four games.

"It was by far the best game I've played for the footy club," the 201cm ruck/forward said.

"It was good to get a few possessions but also just my defensive pressure.

"That was the thing I was focusing on, getting my follow-ups and tackles and stuff like that and it came together for me on the weekend so I take great confidence from that."

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