North Melbourne young gun Tarryn Thomas has been told to “win back the trust” of his teammates after being dropped for Sunday’s AFL clash with GWS.
Jaidyn Stephenson earned a recall for his first AFL match since round nine, but it was David Noble’s axing of Thomas that has raised eyebrows.
North Melbourne’s general manager of football performance Dan McPherson said Thomas was dropped from the team in part due to form but also for failing to meet team standards.
Thomas is averaging just 14 disposals per game this season, down on 18 from last year.
“We’ve spoken with Tarryn and the leadership group and we’ve decided that the best thing for him and the team is to go back, play some good footy in the VFL and win back the trust of his teammates,” McPherson said.
“Tarryn understands why we’ve taken this path and we’ll keep working with him so he can recapture the form and effort he showed in the pre-season.”
Thomas suffered internal bruising in a heavy collision against West Coast in round two, and he has failed to live up to the hot form he displayed last year.
Aaron Hall returns to play his 150th AFL game after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Stephenson has been given another chance to impress.
The Giants have welcomed back Lachie Whitfield (ankle) and dashing defender Adam Kennedy (illness).
Callan Ward has also been named in the side after clearing the concussion protocols and is set to line up for his 200th game for the Giants – the first player at the club to reach the milestone.
The Kangaroos sit second last on the ladder with a 1-11 record, while GWS (3-8) are 15th.