Goldstein ready for daunting ruck battle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Goldstein ready for daunting ruck battle

Justin Chadwick 26/03/2011 12:18:32 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein will attempt to play the role of a marathon man when he confronts athletic West Coast AFL duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

Goldstein will enter the match as the Kangaroos' only recognised ruckman after Hamish McIntosh was ruled out of the early rounds of the season due to an Achilles tendon injury.

With temperatures in the low 30s forecast for the game, Goldstein predicts both Cox and Naitanui will try to run him ragged throughout the match.

But the 22-year-old, who played 21 games last year in a breakthrough season, believed he possessed the fitness to hold his own against Cox and Naitanui.

"I'm reasonably happy with where my fitness is and I'm fairly confident I can get through it," Goldstein said.

"I've put the work in over the past few years and that will hopefully hold me in good stead.

"When I first got to the AFL, Cox was someone that really set the benchmark for most ruckmen and someone I wanted to be like.

"I've got no doubt he's going to run as hard as he can and make me work, especially without Hamish there.

"I'll just have to do my best to stick with him.

"I'll try to play as close to 100 per cent (of the game) as I can but it's going to come down to the day and how things are going.

"It's definitely a daunting task to come up against players like Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui ... but I've got full faith I can do my role for the side and provide a contest."

North Melbourne have been rocked by injuries during the pre-season, with Ryan Bastinac (knee), Matthew Campbell (hamstring), McIntosh, Levi Greenwood (ankle) and Drew Petrie (suspended) all unavailable for the start of the season.

But despite the setbacks, Goldstein was confident the 'Roos could play finals football this season.

"We feel like we can make the top eight and it's definitely a goal. We were unlucky not to make it last year due to percentage," he said.

"Wefeel like we've improved and made some gains on last year, so definitely top eight is a realistic proposition and something we are striving for."

The Kangaroos will field debutants Shaun Atley, 23-year-old Cameron Richardson and 24-year-old upgraded rookie Cameron.Pedersen, while former Eagles forward Ben McKinley will earn his first guernsey with North Melbourne.

West Coast will unveil forward Jack Darling, but last year's No.4 pick Andrew Gaff failed to make the final squad despite an impressive pre-season campaign.

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