Daniel Wells just might be the missing piece of North Melbourne’s premiership puzzle after all.
Restricted to two games last season by a career-threatening Achilles injury, Wells was the shining light for the Kangaroos in their 45-point pre-season cup loss to Hawthorn on Saturday night – his second match of the pre-season.
The creativity, pinpoint disposal and outside speed that the Roos sorely missed as they lost their second preliminary final in succession last year was on display as the 30-year-old gathered 24 possessions, at 92 per cent efficiency, kicked a goal of his own and was involved in a total of eight scores.
“Every game that Wellsy has played in the pre-season, our intra-club games included, he’s played pretty similar to that,” coach Brad Scott said.
“He’s been in good touch and that’s on the back of a good preparation.
“I think (he’ll) look at that as rounding off a really solid preparation.
“He’ll get his reward when the team is going well and he’s an important part of it.”
But while the Roos may have found an important puzzle piece in a fit-again Wells, they appeared to have lost another against the Hawks, with their disposal coming out of defence nothing short of diabolical at times.
The reigning premiers scored a whopping 88 points from turnovers but an unconcerned Scott said that tinkering with his set-ups was more important than halting Hawthorn’s second-half onslaught.
“We’ll have a good look at the reasons why (that happened) but I know that you don’t lose your skill level from one week to the next,” he said.
“It was the main difference between the two sides … but you’re just trying so many different things and not responding to anything that’s going on out there really in a NAB Challenge game.
“For us, anyway, it was primarily about what we wanted to do and (there was) very little response to what was happening negatively.
“You probably just look where you can improve, and there are some areas, but other than that we move on pretty quickly.”
North take on Adelaide at Etihad Stadium in their season-opener and emerged from their final pre-season hit-out without any new injury concerns.