Braydon Preuss and Andrew Swallow wrestle during North Melbourne's intra-club match.
Braydon Preuss and Andrew Swallow wrestle during North Melbourne's intra-club match. Robert Cianflone

Ruckman ruffles feathers in Roos' intra-club match

BRAYDON Preuss certainly likes to throw his weight around - just ask Andrew Swallow.

And there's a lot of weight for him to throw around too.

The reserve North Melbourne ruckman ensured Friday's intra-club match wasn't so friendly, after he tackled Swallow and slammed him headfirst into the ground during the early stages of City v Country clash at Arden St.

It was one of two mini scuffles that somewhat marred the club's clash.

Swallow is one of the toughest on-ballers in the competition. But when an imposing ruckman of 206cm and 102kg spears you into turf, it left the former skipper shaken up - and grumpy.

"It went so quick. I just got up and wanted to show him I wasn't happy," Swallow said.

"We want 'Preussy' to be really aggressive. He's a big fella and he didn't quite get the technique right, but he's going to continue to refine that.

"I didn't like it, but it's all good, we're happy now."

The Swallow incident wasn't the only scuffle Preuss was involved in throughout Friday's game, tangling with Trent Dumont during the third quarter as well.

"He comes from a rugby background. He's just got to refine it, but we want him to be aggressive," Swallow said.

"It's just about finding that balance. We all know that when you're out there on the field, you make split-second decisions."

Despite the big hits and random scuffles, Preuss impressed throughout the Roos' intra-club match.

With fellow big men Ben Brown, Majak Daw and Todd Goldstein all sidelined due to injury - Brown and Daw acted as water boys for most of the match - Preuss stood up as the game's No.1 ruckman.

While he didn't win a lot of footy around the ground - his mobility undoubtedly still needs work - he thrived at stoppages with the extra responsibility placed upon his shoulders.

He showed great athleticism at centre bounces, jumping higher than his opponent at every contest. Then when the ball was thrown up around the ground, Preuss used his tall frame to his advantage to out-muscle rivals and tap the footy to his teammates' advantage.

This was on display at the start of the final term, with Preuss's stunning tap-to-advantage setting up a scintillating chain between Ben Cunnington, Lindsay Thomas and Jack Ziebell.

In fact it was Preuss's tapwork that stood out above any part of his game during the VFL last year. He averaged 79 Champion Data ranking points per game, but also ranked above average for both hitout win rate and hitout to advantage win rate.

Preuss might get another chance to impress on a bigger stage, with Goldstein unlikely to be available for North's first JLT Community Series game against Sydney in Coffs Harbour.

"Goldy had a really good session today," Swallow said.

"He's probably not going to be quite right for the first pre-season game but looks on track to play Round 2, Round 3. We'll just slowly build him up."

Hopefully for Preuss - and his opponents' - sake, he can temper that aggression.

News Corp Australia

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