Criticism of North Melbourne’s list strategy is ‘a touch naive’
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NORTH Melbourne football boss Cameron Joyce says critics of his club’s list management strategy are “a touch naive”.

The Kangaroos last week copped criticism from former Hawks, Saints and Power list manager Chris Pelchen, who was “extremely disappointed” with the club’s lack of involvement in the trade period, despite making multiple delistings and declaring its rebuild hand.

The only move North Melbourne made saw Sam Gibson, who wasn’t going to be offered a contract for 2018, traded to Adelaide for Pick 91.

But Pelchen said the Kangaroos were too inactive.

“If you’re going to rebuild, you have to do more than getting just one pick per round in the draft, because that’s what you’re given anyway,” Pelchen told Fox Footy Podcast.

“So for them to be so dormant in the trade period, they need to actually be trading players out and getting returns. I’m really disappointed.

“I thought they’d go into this trade period and try to get extra (picks). Five or six picks inside 60 — that should have been their aim. They didn’t go anywhere near it.”

But Joyce backed his club’s list strategy and trade period activity on Tuesday night.

“My immediate thought is a touch naive and a little bit of lack of understanding,” Joyce told SEN’s The Run Home.

“But at the same time, that’s what the game is … the role of the media is to have an opinion, so we certainly respect that.”

Joyce, North’s general manager of football, said the club was “definitely aggressive in our pursuits of trying to improve our list” and “exhausted all avenues to move or look at players on our list”.

He added that the club tried hard to upgrade its draft selections, both this year and next year, over the past few weeks.

“We certainly did that but we weren’t able to obtain that through trading our own players or moving up the order with draft picks,” Joyce said.

Former Hawthorn list manager Gary Buckenara was also critical of the Kangaroos last week, saying they could be 10 years away from challenging for a premiership again, even if their young players turn into A-grade talent.

While Joyce admitted there’s a “lot of improvement left”, he said the Roos were happy with where their list sat.

“In terms of where we’re at, we’ve got 20 players that are under 50 games, with another six or eight that will come in this year through the national draft and also rookie draft, and we’re pretty keen to back those guys in to really improve,” Joyce said.

“No one is putting a year on it, but we certainly don’t agree on the 10 years and we don’t agree that we don’t have any A-graders as well.

“I think our ability to develop, our ability to improve our player availability, which has been down a little bit in the last year-and-a-half, I think are going to be two things that are going to be crucial for us.”

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