NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott says he would be surprised if Jack Ziebell doesn’t captain the AFL club.
Scott, who was the guest speaker at Albury’s grand final luncheon at Soden’s yesterday, said the former Wodonga player ticked all the boxes to step into Andrew Swallow’s shoes in coming seasons.
“It’s difficult to predict these things, but Jack has the qualities we are looking for,” Scott said.
“He was strongly considered to be captain when we elevated Andrew Swallow to take over from Brent Harvey.
“The major reason he didn’t was because Jack was 21 at the time and we felt we had a ready-made captain in Andrew Swallow who is just an outstanding young person.”
In a glowing endorsement of his vice-captain, Scott described Ziebell’s season as outstanding despite being suspended for four matches for a high bump of Carlton’s Aaron Joseph.
Ziebell has racked up 80 matches since being drafted in 2008 and played one of his finest in the Kangaroos’ final round 23 win against Collingwood at the MCG.
“He took another huge step this year,” Scott said.
“He’s one of the most impressive young players I have seen in my time in footy.
“I probably put unfair expectations on him when I compare him to a 21-year-old Michael Voss at times because he reminds me so much of what ‘Vossy’ was like at the same age.
“Of course that’s an unfair comparison because there is only ever going to be one Michael Voss.
“Unfortunately Jack has been rubbed out for things that ‘Vossy’ wouldn’t have been given the way the game has changed.
“I guess we are trying to lead the fight by using Jack as an example in that he plays the ball hard and shouldn’t be suspended for doing it.
“Unfortunately we have lost that argument a couple of times at the tribunal though.”
Scott also praised Corryong’s Shaun Atley for coping with the added attention that came his way after a break-out season in 2012 when he emerged as one of the premier youngsters in the AFL.
“It was hard to follow up his fifth in the best and fairest the year before, but he had another really good consistent year,” he said.
“There are a lot of things I really like about Shaun.
“We have a bit of a bias in our recruiting strategy with country boys.
“We think they are generally down to earth and that’s a quality of our club.”