Ziebell relishing AFL captaincy at Roos

Jack Ziebell took over as North Melbourne captain at a fraught time, given the massive amount of experience that left the AFL club at the end of last season.

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But Ziebell says the only part of being skipper that bothers him so far is their 0-2 start to the season.

And the Kangaroos face another major test when they host the GWS Giants on Saturday in Hobart.

North are a transformed team after the departures of Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Daniel Wells.

But Ziebell said on Friday the new-look Kangaroos have the right attitude.

“The group we have … is very easy to lead,” he said.

“They’re very eager to learn, the effort they show on the weekend is second to none.”

Ziebell said it also helped that his predecessor Andrew Swallow had stayed in the leadership group.

And there is still plenty of experience at Arden St, such as Jarrad Waite, Shaun Higgins, Jamie Macmillan and Robbie Tarrant.

“They have some sway in our group and we’re really leaning on those guys to make sure they’re upholding what we expect from our footy club,” Ziebell said.

Ziebell will play his 150th game this Saturday, while Giants co-captain Phil Davis reaches the 100 milestone.

They came through the 2008 draft, with Ziebell going to North at pick No.9 and Davis joining Adelaide one selection later.

Davis later went to GWS and has reached his milestone after a succession of injuries.

Ziebell feels his career has gone quickly.

“I remember starting at the footy club probably nine years ago and listening to a couple of the older guys say ‘mate, make sure you enjoy it, because it goes bloody quick’,” he said.

“You sit there and laugh at them.

“But you blink and you’re nine years in and 150 games now.”

Ziebell feels he is now reaching his prime as an AFL player.

“It’s been a bit of a journey to get to this point, but I’m fully-confident in my body and everything like that, the way I’m playing, and hopefully I’m going to improve a whole lot more as well,” he said.

“So I think my best footy is definitely ahead of me.”

Ziebell also has backed himself and the rest of the North midfield to match the Giants.

“We’re more than capable of matching it with any midfield in the competition, which is exciting,” he said.

The forecast is for rain in Hobart – which drew an “oh, shit” from Ziebell under his breath as he thought it was going to be sunny.

“We love Tassie, Tassie’s awesome – we’ve had a pretty strong record down there,” he quickly added.

“If the weather comes in fairly average, I think that will suit us.”

This is now unofficially the Josh Kelly Cup, given the revelation that North are dangling a monster nine-year offer in front of the Giants midfielder.

“I might say it’s nice and sunny down here in Melbourne and all that sort of stuff,” Ziebell said.