The prospect of finishing the season against two of the more physical ruckmen in the AFL has given North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein extra motivation with finals out of the picture.
Goldstein will celebrate his 250th game this Saturday against Fremantle, with big-bodied ruckman Sean Darcy awaiting him in that clash, before rounding out the season against arguably the competition’s most in-form tall in West Coast’s Nic Naitanui.
The 32-year-old, who wants to push to 300 games for the Kangaroos after re-signing last year until the end of 2022, said he was excited for the challenge.
“It’s a different motivation to know I have two tough games coming up,” Goldstein said.
“The challenge, you need that motivation, that push to the end especially when finals are no longer on the line, it can be hard to mentally keep going and you need to find those challenges to push to the end of the year.
“I think it’s great the ruck fraternity’s really stepping up and it feels like you’ve got a pretty good ruckman every single week at the moment.”
Goldstein admitted Darcy got the better of him when they last met, but given it was round one of last season he won’t be taking anything from that clash.
“He’s got a big body, he attacks the contest really well and he’s got a good set of hands-on him when he’s in a marking situation as well,” he said.
“He was pretty impressive the other night from what I watched and it’s a good challenge for me to come up against a big-bodied ruckman and see what I can do.
“I try not to think too much about the previous contest, especially when it’s been so far between games.
“I tend to try to focus on my strengths and what I can bring to our footy club. I’m sure he’ll have a different tactic that he had last year against me.
“I don’t want to predict too much what he’s going to do. It’s more about what I can bring to the side.”
The Kangaroos have one win from their last 13 games, but Goldstein can see the light.
“You look at the likes of Jy Simpkin who’s only 21. Cameron Zurhaar, Bailey Scott, Curtis Taylor, they’ve all taken real big steps forward this year,” he said.
“So when you add in players like Ben Cunnington back into a side… we have a really good mix of youth and experienced players.”