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No big fish: North’s shift in recruiting policy

North Melbourne have changed tack on their recruiting policy, and are planning to spend at least the next two post-seasons replenishing at the draft and taking a heavily youth-focused approach.

In a shift from a period of pursuing “big fish” who were out of contract from other clubs – notably Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly – without success, the Kangaroos have mapped out a draft-first plan that means there is little chance they will be trading early choices this year or in 2021.

North are not planning to trade out Ben Brown, but wouldn't turn down the right deal.

North are not planning to trade out Ben Brown, but wouldn’t turn down the right deal.Credit:Getty Images

Sources familiar with North’s shift in thinking said that while the club wasn’t planning to trade out struggling key forward Ben Brown, it would be prepared to look at moving Brown if the right deal was on the table. It is unclear what Brown, 27, who suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s clash with Geelong after being dropped in round nine, might attract in terms of draft return.

North’s move to a youth and draft-based regeneration of the playing list is a recognition that the club’s attempts at “topping up” with non-star players including the talented but unreliable Jared Polec, fellow former Port Adelaide player Jasper Pittard, ex-Sun Aaron Hall and former Demon Dom Tyson, had not improved performances.

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