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Goldstein looms as an ominous obstacle for Sauce

Football

Star North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein is poised to take his game to even greater heights this season – starting on Saturday night against the Crows – thanks to decreased AFL interchange rotations.

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The scrapping of the substitute and the decrease in interchange rotations to 90 per game should play right into the elite endurance athlete’s hands.

Coach Brad Scott is of the opinion that facing off against Goldstein under the new conditions will be a scary prospect for opposition ruckmen this season.

“It definitely doesn’t hurt the confidence to hear things like that but they’re just words – I’ve got to go out and perform,” Goldstein said.

“What happened last year is nothing now – it’s a whole new year and I’ve got to step up again and get better.”

Despite the Crows smashing North by 77 points in their Round One fixture last year, Goldstein won the hitouts 35 to 26 against Sam Jacobs. And he will be a frightening opponent indeed if he can improve on a stellar season in which he broke Gary Dempsey’s record for hitouts in a single year, claimed North’s best and fairest award and earned All Australian honours.

The 27-year-old admits he’ll be interested to see how the adjustment to the rules plays out but is confident his renowned ability to run out games will be a bonus for him regardless.

“It’s a strength of mine, which I’m going to try and use and try to exploit but I think everybody’s worked a fair bit on their fitness this pre-season,” he said.

“It’s too early to tell, I think.

“Most other rucks have been working on their fitness, so it’s one of those wait and see things, but it’s definitely not going to hurt me.”

The Crows will once again expect Jacobs to shoulder the ruck load throughout the season, while young prospect Reilly O’Brien continues to make strides in the SANFL.

Goldstein will play his 150th game against Adelaide as the Roos try to break a run of six straight round one defeats.

“We can’t change that now, we’re focused on Adelaide and it doesn’t really matter what round it is,” he said.

“It’s about what we need to get out of each game – round one isn’t any more important than round two, three or 15 – it’s about trying to get as many wins as we can and setting ourselves up for finals.”

-AAP

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