Higgins, Kangaroos primed for AFL fight

North Melbourne's Shaun Higgins (C) seems to be getting better with age after a superb month of AFL.
North Melbourne's Shaun Higgins (C) seems to be getting better with age after a superb month of AFL.

Time starts to catch up with most AFL players after the age of 30, but North Melbourne star Shaun Higgins is getting better.

On the back of last year's second best-and-fairest award for the Roos, the 31-year-old has put together a stunning month of football to open the season.

His 30-disposal effort in a breakthrough win over Adelaide took his possession tally across the opening four matches to 130 - a new club record.

It's not all about the numbers, of course, but the classy midfielder's influence is undoubted.

"I'm feeling as good as I ever have," Higgins told AAP.

"But I'm still learning and feel like I've still got improvement left in my game, which is really pleasing.

"I feel like I'm in a really good place. The body feels great and I'm just really excited about playing the role for the team.

"And I still feel like I've got plenty of footy left."

With the pressure of a 0-3 start to the season released with last week's win over the Crows, Higgins and the Kangaroos are intent on building some momentum, starting with the Good Friday clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium.

While getting a win is obviously key for both sides, the game is one of the rare fixtures with more than four premiership points at stake.

Part proceeds from ticket sales go to the Royal Children's Hospital's Good Friday Appeal, with players from both clubs involved in fundraising efforts in the lead-up to the match.

"It's a really important day ... it's far bigger than football," Higgins said.

"The Good Friday appeal is really the most-important aspect of it.

"We're so rapt to be a part of it.

"Guys from both sides have been down to the hospital over the past week. It's a really big build-up so that we can help raise as much money as possible.

"The game is the central part of it for the football club, but there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes."

In selection news, North have brought in Sam Wright and Bailey Scott for suspended Luke McDonald and the rested Tarryn Thomas, while Matt Guelfi replaces Devon Smith, who is being managed by the Bombers.

Australian Associated Press