North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says Saturday night’s AFL elimination final against Adelaide will provide the big stage Todd Goldstein needs to return to his dominant best.
Goldstein’s influence waned in the second half of the season after he suffered a knee injury in the Roos’ first loss of their campaign in round 10 against Sydney.
Scott admitted his lead ruck’s confidence took a hit with the injury setback but backed him to rise to the occasion against Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs.
“Physically our medicos said he’s right to go but even he would say that it affected him a little bit in terms of his confidence and ability to jump and do all of the things that make him a really good player,” Scott said.
“But he’s over all that now.
“I think one of the things that really good players look forward to is performing on the big stage and Goldy’s got his big stage now.
“His progression as a player from being a really good ruckman to the best ruckman in the competition … the biggest hurdle he had to get over to get to that point was his mental state.
“He wanted to prove that he’s up there with the best ruckmen in the competition, if not the best, and now he wants to prove that he’s a big-time performer.
“So there’s no one looking forward to this Saturday night more than Goldy.”
North look set to welcome back Jarrad Waite and Scott Thompson from injury for the sudden-death clash at Adelaide Oval.
Scott said the much-maligned AFL bye came at the right time for his injury-ravaged side that crawled into the finals on a four-game losing streak.
Either Drew Petrie or Majak Daw look set to make way for Waite.
Scott may have provided a clue to his thinking when asked about Petrie’s mindset after he admitted news he wouldn’t return to the club next year affected him badly in the Roos’ loss to Greater Western Sydney.
“That’s out of his system now … it’s an elimination final so there’s a big prize at the end of it and the losers go home,” he said.
“I’m really confident his focus will be where it needs to be.
“Drew is a quality finals performer, he’s done the job for us in big games before. Other players look to him and when we’ve needed something in a big game he’s stood up.”