#7 Jack Ziebell
After having post-season surgery on his shoulder last year, Jack Ziebell missed a chunk of the pre-season, however still managed to play all three of North Melbourne’s NAB Challenge games. In the final hit-out before Round 1, Ziebell was knocked out in a heavy collision against Richmond, resulting in heavy concussion. Still, the wrecking ball was selected in the season-opener against Adelaide, performing below his standard.
The following week against Brisbane, Ziebell played some of his best football, gathering 27 possessions, taking seven marks, laying seven tackles and kicking two goals. In Round 3 against Port Adelaide, Ziebell only lasted a short amount of time before being subbed out following a heavy clash with Ollie Wines. Ziebell was sent to hospital for precautionary scans on his chest, but was cleared to play the following week against Geelong despite being diagnosed with bruised lungs.
Ziebell quickly returned to good form, dominating in the clearances against Richmond in Round 6, before slotting two majors from 29 disposals against Essendon a week later. His impact quietened from thereon, averaging just over 20 touches between Rounds 8 and 15 and kicking only three goals.
Once again, he dominated against the Bombers, collecting 23 possessions in their Round 16 return clash, as well as slotting three goals in the final quarter. He was also a major player in the Kangaroos’ Round 18 match against Carlton, compiling 26 disposals, taking eight grabs and booting a couple of majors. A fortnight later against St Kilda, Ziebell was reported for striking Jack Newnes, missing one week through suspension.
Ziebell returned for the final two weeks of the season, struggling to impose himself in the midfield. Late in the Round 23 clash against the Tigers, Ziebell copped a hit to his face, leaving him with a black eye and a small amount of doubt over his availability for the club’s Elimination Final. But as he has done so many times before, Ziebell shrugged off his injury concerns to play a big part in North’s triumph over Richmond, collecting 23 disposals.
In the Semi Final against Sydney, Ziebell was one of the game’s most influential midfielders, amassing 25 possessions, taking three marks and laying eight tackles. Despite his efficiency being well down, his ability to win the ball and force it forward was vital in scrappy conditions, and was conducive to their win.
Ziebell’s output was limited in North’s Preliminary Final against West Coast, but his efforts were rewarded with an equal-fifth placing in the Syd Barker Medal, just three votes short of fourth-placed Brent Harvey. On the night of North Melbourne’s best and fairest award, Ziebell announced a massive six-year contract extension, tying him to the club until 2021. This leaves little doubt over who will be the club’s next captain, with Ziebell the obvious choice.
JACK Ziebell will spend the night in hospital after suffering bruising to his lungs in North Melbourne’s brave eight-point loss to Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Despite a big loss to the Eagles last week, Jack Ziebell says the Bulldogs will provide a huge challenge this weekend.
An attitude adjustment after the demoralising round 14 loss to Gold Coast helped spark North Melbourne’s seven-game winning streak that has all but secured its second consecutive finals berth, vice-captain Jack Ziebell says.
The former champion Hawks believes Kangaroo vice-captain Jack Ziebell is the player with the ability to change the game at ANZ Stadium.
Jack Ziebell is expected to return to pre-season training at full strength, despite undergoing shoulder surgery on Monday.
Jack Ziebell is a step closer to becoming a one-club player at North Melbourne, after signing a new contract extension that will keep him at Arden St until at least 2021.