AAP AFL

AFL consistency key for rejuvenated Roo

By AAP Newswire

Jed Anderson is having the sort of AFL season North Melbourne hoped he was capable of when they first set about luring him from Hawthorn.

The 24-year-old has played 14 of 15 games in 2018 after managing just 25 in his previous four seasons and has been a key part of the Roos' rise up the ladder.

It's a source of some frustration that injuries have meant it's taken until the third and final year of his contract but all signs point to a new deal sooner rather than later.

Anderson credits a greater understanding of his own body and a carefully tailored pre-season program for helping him start to fulfil his undoubted potential.

"We worked out a program that best suits me and that's really shown out during the season," Anderson said.

"To be able to back it up each week has been the best thing.

"It was frustrating early on but it's helped me become more resilient and made me more determined to go and do my rehab to get back playing.

"To get that continuity of playing AFL footy each week was all I wanted ... I'm getting that now, which is great."

The influence of a star midfield bull has also been a key to Anderson's much-improved year.

"I've spent a fair bit of time with Ben Cunnington ... he's helped me out a lot on field and then off field we go out fishing a bit," Anderson said.

"But he has helped me out a lot with my inside midfield work ... you certainly can't fault what he does in there."

The stakes will be high when the Roos host injury-hit Sydney in what shapes as a mini-final for Brad Scott's men at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Anderson says the Roos gained plenty of confidence from their two-point win over the Swans in round seven.

North, ninth heading into the round, have brought in Alex Morgan for his AFL debut, with young forward Cameron Zurhaar out with a long-term ankle injury.

Injury-ravaged Sydney will be without Dan Hannebery (calf), Kieren Jack (knee) and Jarrad McVeigh (collarbone).

Tom Papley, Isaac Heeney and Nic Newman return, while Irishman Colin O'Riordan will debut.