Trending topics

Select your station

We'll remember your choice for next time

The “really nice text” Stephenson sent new Roos assistant Rocca


Jaidyn Stephenson will reunite with Anthony Rocca at North Melbourne this year.

The former Collingwood star forward has been appointed as an assistant coach at Arden Street where he will link up with Kangaroos recruit Stephenson.

Rocca, who will be working closely with the rucks and taller players, said Stephenson has already reached out and is excited to again be at the same club following their time together at the Magpies.

“He gave me a really nice text the other day, ‘Stepho’,” Rocca said on Sportsday.

“He was happy I was there. I’ve got that Collingwood connection with him and he’s really looking forward to working closely together.

“I rate Jaidyn really highly. He has an X-factor. We know he had some issues last year and he tried to overcome them.

“When he’s up and going, he can be a dominating forward. He can turn games in the space of five minutes.”

Stephenson, who won the 2018 Rising Star award, kicked 76 goals in 54 games for the Pies before joining North last trade period.

Rocca is also optimistic about what is ahead for the Roos, particularly from a key forward viewpoint with Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhaar set to take the mantle following Ben Brown’s move to Melbourne.

He also feels the ruck position is in very good hands with Todd Goldstein leading the way with support from Tom Campbell and Tristan Xerri.

“The likes of Nick Larkey and Cameron Zurhaar. Those two could be a really good combination for the future,” he added.

“I love the way Zurhaar goes about it. He’s tough, strong, loves the contested mark and just loves crashing packs.

“I’m excited working with Todd Goldstein. He’s a really good ruckman who has achieved a lot and I believe he could still achieve a whole lot more.

“The likes of Tom Campbell, who has been a back-up ruckman for a long time. He keeps putting the pressure on underneath at VFL level. The games I’ve seen him play at AFL level, he’s a crash and bash ruckman who’s done a great job. I hope he can keep putting pressure on to help Goldstein out in that regard.

“Tristan Xerri is another young kid going through the VFL ranks as well. If they both can put the pressure on Todd, that will make him a better ruckman.”

Rocca has bolstered David Noble’s Kanagroos’ coaching staff after working in development roles at Collingwood over the last decade.

More in AFL