Both teams will be hell-bent on kicking off 2020 with the four points after disappointing seasons .
Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Sunday March 22, 1.05pm AEDT
Last time they met: Blundstone Arena, round 16, 2019: North Melbourne 17.10 (112) beat St Kilda 11.7 (73)
TV and online: Click here for broadcast guide
What it means for North Melbourne: The optimism about the Roos from last year has dissipated, in part because some stars had interrupted pre-seasons. However, almost all of them are ready to go, which makes Sunday’s season-opener a chance to show the momentum can roll on.
What it means for St Kilda: Brett Ratten has a way of winning people over, and many are tipping a finals assault for his Saints. Pre-season hype counts for little once the real stuff starts, so they’ll be looking to take an early scalp.
The stat: North has won nine of its past 11 clashes with St Kilda, while star onballer Ben Cunnington averages more possessions (24.3) against the Saints than any other opposition.
The match-up: Todd Goldstein v Rowan Marshall
The master and the apprentice? While Goldstein (No.3 ruckman in the Player Ratings) might not be the AFL’s premier ruckman anymore, he returned to some of his best form last year, when Marshall (14th) announced himself as a seriously promising big man.
In the spotlight: Bradley Hill
The Saints were the busiest club in last year’s Telstra AFL Trade Period as they brought in five players, but none was bigger than Hill. He provides much-needed dash, skills and ball-winning ability to Moorabbin, but the expectations are high.