Brad Scott, Coach of the North Melbourne Kangaroos, has fired a shot across the bow of those who doubt ruckman Todd Goldstein.
Goldstein was the toast of the league in 2015, setting recording for his positon and high marks for ranking points en route to making it to All-Australian distinction and amassing 18 Brownlow Medal points.
Goldstein fell off the cliff in 2016 and 2017, however, to the extent that he was dropped to the Roos VFL side twice in the late stages of the 2017 season, so he will have no small task on his hands to convince doubters that he is worthy of a slot on the top 22 for North Melbourne.
Fellow ruckman Braydon Preuss, playing alongside Goldstein for parts of last season might be the man in the con column for a resurgence by Goldstein.
Summer training periods have convinced Coach Scott that the 29-year-old Goldstein can return to his best. At North’s season launch during the week, Scott told those in attendance, “From what I’ve seen this pre-season, Todd Goldstein is going to return to his best. I look forward to the selection headache that Braydon Preuss provides.”
Only a footy coach, and perhaps a few other true masochists, could speak warmly about a headache, but in Scott’s case, it is simply coach speak for saying that he has an adequate pool of players to field.
Goldstein and the rest must live up to Scott’s expectations if the Roos are to move into contention for a spot in the top eight. They were agonisingly close in 2016, but last year saw them consigned to 15th place on the ladder and not all of that can be assigned to a bad year by Goldstein.
Scott says that he in all probability will not play both Goldstein and Preuss at the same time. He gave Goldstein the first half and Preuss the second in the Kangaroos’ final JLT Community Series match, but it will be one or the other for the Round 1 game with the Gold Coast Suns.