Champion Kangaroo Todd Goldstein will remain a one-club player after signing a fresh one-year deal that should see him play his 300th game next season.
Even the 34-year-old was unsure mid-year whether he would continue at North Melbourne in 2023 but told News Corp in July he felt he had at least another season left in him.
New coach Alastair Clarkson agreed, with Goldstein, an All-Australian and club champion in 2015, to continue bringing a veteran presence for the Roos, who are set to be active in this year’s trade period.
“You’re always pleased to have that out of the way and can focus on going forward,” Goldstein said.
“There was very little doubt that I was planning on wanting to stay – it was just more finalising the details – but I’m very excited for what next year can bring.”
Goldstein partnered Tristan Xerri in the ruck until the latter underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in July, which opened the door for off-season recruit Callum Coleman-Jones to start playing regularly.
North collected a second straight wooden spoon for finishing on the bottom and sacked coach David Noble, but Goldstein felt it was “a great learning year”.
“You can use that (term) flippantly but I think the resilience the group showed, the ability to still front up and work really hard on the training track … shows the group is really dedicated and wants to move forward,” he said.
“That’s the biggest thing, with ‘Clarko’ coming in, it’ll show him the impetus that the group wants to get better. We just need to be given the right structures and the right way to play and be able to execute that.
“The exuberance of this group is still there and it’s very hard when you’re losing games to do that, but they still managed to keep that.”
Goldstein is looking forward to passing on his wisdom to his younger teammates, along with captain Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington, after benefiting from others when he came through.
“I was lucky enough that I started when people like Glenn Archer, Adam Simpson and Shannon Grant – all these sorts of players – were finishing up and then they passed the torch onto Drew Petrie and ‘Boomer’ (Brent Harvey).
“‘Boomer’ and Drew passed it onto us, so it’s our obligation to try and teach these young boys what it takes to be a North Melbourne person and North Melbourne player and we’re pretty committed and pretty dedicated to teaching them before we’re done.”
Goldstein is five games short of becoming the sixth Roos footballer to reach the 300 milestone, behind Harvey (432), Petrie (316), Archer (311), Wayne Schimmelbusch and Adam Simpson (both 306).
“I’ve made no bones that playing 300 games for North Melbourne is something I’ve always wanted. I’ve always held that pretty special,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be on the list with four of our five 300-game players, so I’ve watched all those guys bring up their 300s and that was pretty special and you could see how much this footy club meant to them.
“I don’t count my chickens. I want to get to 296 before I think too much about 300, but if I was to get there, it’d be pretty special. Hopefully, we can do some pretty special things with our new coach next year.”