The return of Andrew Swallow should add class to a North Melbourne side keen to rectify their last-start belting by Gold Coast.
It’s a match-up on paper North Melbourne should win.
The Brisbane Lions aren’t in the class of Fremantle, Sydney and Port Adelaide; all three beaten impressively by the Kangaroos this year.
The problem is figuring out which North Melbourne will show up on Saturday.
After a stirring victory at the SCG, Brad Scott’s team went AWOL against Collingwood.
Then a rare win in the West was followed up with an Etihad thrashing by Gold Coast.
With a bye last week, half-forward Leigh Adams says Scott gave them a hard week on the track to ensure that loss isn’t backed up.
“When you don’t have a game to look forward to the loss lingers around a little bit,” he said.
“It shows if we’re off by one or two per cent, any team can whack you between the eyes.”
Adams said the club’s key focus was lifting their intensity to 100 per cent this week, citing Adelaide’s tackling pressure in their win over Collingwood as proof “anyone can beat anyone”.
Coincidence or not, the two players dropped by Scott for the Lions clash – Michael Firrito and Brad McKenzie – sit last in the club’s tackle count.
In their place comes captain Andrew Swallow for his first game in almost a year, along with Sam Wright and Robin Nahas.
The Lions have made three changes from their side that came within a whisker of knocking off Essendon, with Matt Maguire (suspension), Sam Mayes (concussion) and Nick Robertson (omitted) all out.
Claye Beams will play his first AFL game since round two last year after a knee reconstruction was followed by a pre-season foot injury.
He returns alongside key forward Jordan Lisle and defender Mitch Golby.
The match also gives the Kangaroos a chance to make amends for a last-term fade out in Brisbane last year that helped squash their finals ambitions.
The Kangaroos were 33 points up five minutes before three-quarter time, with Michael Voss’ Lions piling on 10 majors to run out two-goal winners.
Adams said he hoped to figure on the scoreboard in the Saturday twilight fixture with just two goals to his name this year.
The modest Kangaroo said signing a two-year contract during the bye week was a no-brainer despite the lure of free agency.
“I’m not one of those players going around asking for big dollars. I think free agency really only works for you if someone else wants you,” he laughed.