McIntosh in AFL frame for Kangaroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McIntosh in AFL frame for Kangaroos

By Greg Buckle 24/08/2011 06:50:27 PM Comments (0)

Hamish McIntosh is close to a senior recall as North Melbourne try to boost their goalkicking options for Saturday night's season-defining AFL clash with St Kilda.

The Kangaroos' big man has been anchored on 99 games all season but has recovered from Achilles surgery and gained match conditioning in the VFL.

Todd Goldstein has had a remarkable season in McIntosh's absence, elevating himself into All-Australian ruckman calculations.

Goldstein is leading the AFL for hitouts with 35.7 per game, leaving coach Brad Scott to ponder just how to fit McIntosh back into the side.

It's a potential selection headache for the ninth-placed Kangaroos who must beat the sixth-placed Saints and 12th-placed Richmond if they are to have any hope of qualifying for the finals.

"He (McIntosh) is a big man. He's 204 centimetres and very strong," Scott told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's an accomplished forward. He can go forward and kick goals.

"We think that will be a real weapon for us.

"It's just a matter of deciding what's best for our team structure this week.

"But in the future, having two top-line ruckmen is a huge advantage."

Scott says it's the moment of truth for the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

North's nine wins have come against sides outside the current top eight, apart from a victory over eighth-placed Essendon in round 13.

"If our performances over the next couple of weeks hold up and a few results go our way, I think we'll have probably deserved to get there," Scott said of North's finals hopes.

"I'm glad that we've got really good opposition this week in St Kilda which will test where we're at.

"If we're good enough, then we'll look at round 24 and beyond."

Scott accepts it's time for North to claim a major scalp.

"The people who say that are exactly right," he said.

The Kangaroos are expecting a dour struggle as they attempt to improve on their 10-goal effort in round 15, when the Saints held on to win 12.7 (79) to 10.10 (70).

"They played in the last three grand finals for a reason. They're a terrific defensive side," Scott said.

"Their defensive capabilities are getting back to where they were in 2009 and 2010.

"We've got pretty good firepower up forward and our midfield has really matured so it's going to be a great opportunity for us.

"In the scheme of things, in terms of what's on the end of the line, it's a hugely important game.

"It's a great position for our players to be in, to potentially be the match of the round and to have that focus on us.

"We welcome the pressure. We welcome what's at stake."

Scott said North's efficiency going into attack was poor in round 15.

"We're going to have to be at our very best in terms of our run and our ability to distribute the ball inside our forward 50 to be effective against them," Scott said.

"At that stage (in round 15), Drew Petrie was such a dominant player in the competition. The guys got so focused in on Drew and wanted to kick it to him at every opportunity.

"We've been really working hard on that versatility. We've got to have other options up there."

Aaron Edwards and Cameron Pedersen kicked three goals each in last week's 98-point win over Fremantle.

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