Early injuries marred North Melbourne’s clash against the Crows at Marvel Stadium, however, positive developmental signs in its youngsters added a silver lining to the loss.
Star defender Luke McDonald and dangerous forward Cameron Zurhaar were both injured early in the first quarter, with McDonald substituted after a pectoral injury and Zurhaar receiving a concussion in a tackling attempt.
Despite the score line, North Melbourne Coach David Noble sees the positives in the loss.
“It was really encouraging, I think some of the jobs we asked our young guys to do, and the manner they went about it was really good,” Noble said.
“I think the way that our guys controlled the game for a lot of those portions is something that our fans and sponsors can walk away from the game thinking that’s a bit more around the vision of what we want to do.
Despite losing the match, North Melbourne bounced back from a disastrous Good Friday clash last weekend to play a promising style of football.
“I think we want to play the way that we played today each week,” Noble said.
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“We need to come out and understand that’s the manner, the way we need to deliver our performance and as you can tell from the last quarter we’ve still got a bit to learn.”
The Kangaroos game plan shifted after the early injuries, with Tom Powell and Kayne Turner tasked with negating Rory Laird.
“We thought that was a really good tool to get those two guys to get into the game,” Noble said.
“As a result, both of those young guys stayed in the game. Sometimes a role like that, when you don’t quite get the job done in the manner we would’ve like, can sometimes derail their game.”
“I thought they played exceptionally well for two young guys finding their feet in the AFL.”
A lack of rotations for the young side led to the Crows running over the top of North Melbourne, kicking eight goals to one in the final term.
Noble was quick to dismiss claims the injuries played a part in the last quarter capitulation.
“I still think when the pressure comes we need to learn how to deal with that better,” Noble said.
“Like managing the game a little bit more, controlling the speed.“
“The rotations don’t help, there’s no doubt, but I think it’s more about how we still need to go about our business.”
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