Goldstein looks 26 and is thriving ahead of Roos clash

Todd Goldstein is proving to be the AFL's version of Benjamin Button as the Essendon ruckman prepares to face his former side in Sunday's clash with North Melbourne.

Goldstein played 315 games across 16 seasons at North Melbourne before making the switch to Essendon at the end of last year.

The move has proven to be a good one for both club and player, with Goldstein playing a key role in Essendon's charge up to third on the ladder.

Goldstein is averaging 24.8 hit-outs and two clearances across nine games this season.

And with fellow ruck Sam Draper set to miss the next six-to-eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery, even more importance will be placed on Goldstein's shoulders.

Clubs have shown a tendency to rest their older players semi-regularly, but there is no rest in sight for Goldstein, who turns 36 on July 1.

"The difficulty with Goldy is he looks like he's 26," Essendon coach Brad Scott said.

"There's no indication he needs a rest, but we'll be smart about it and work out what's best for him.

"But he's a player who eats up the work and enjoys the work and thrives on the work.

"He's just a workhorse, he always has been.

"He's done every session. We have looked to be proactive in terms of managing his workload, but he just eats up the work.

"He's in as good a shape as anyone on our list at the moment."

Goldstein hasn't played finals since 2016, but he is a good chance to end that streak this year given Essendon's strong form.

The Bombers will start as hot favourites on Sunday against a North Melbourne outfit who are 0-9 and with a woeful percentage of 56.3.

Essendon's 20-point win over GWS last week represented their biggest scalp this year, but Scott isn't getting carried away.

"We're still really aware that we've got a lot of work to do in a lot of areas of our game," he said.

"Our players are setting a really high standard for the style of footy they want to play.

"We're a different group in terms of identifying things we can do better.

"There's certainly no sense of satisfaction or complacency here.

"The thing I'm most pleased about is that there appears to be, amongst our supporter base, pride in our team's performance.

"That's a great credit to our players."

Essendon added Dylan Shiel, Nate Caddy and ruckman Nick Bryan to their extended squad.

North have named co-captain Jy Simpkin to return from quad tightness.

Boom draftee Colby McKercher (foot) is sidelined with Will Phillips and Riley Hardeman omitted.

Zane Duursma, Miller Bergman, Curtis Taylor, Toby Pink and Dylan Stephens have also been added to North's extended squad.

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