Don’t call it a coming of age for North Melbourne just yet.
But coach Brad Scott says his players now have clear evidence their very best is capable of troubling the rest of the AFL after a 53-point belting of Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
The Kangaroos took another massive step among many in the past month and have now won four of five matches after a nightmarish 115-point hammering by Hawthorn in round 10.
The performance against fellow finals aspirants Carlton was as complete as North have produced in Scott’s three seasons at the helm.
Drew Petrie’s seven-goal haul in a 24.5 (149) to 14.12 (96) spanking was backed by four goals to Lachie Hansen, huge performances from their midfield led by Daniel Wells plus superb defence with Nathan Grima prominent.
With radar-like kicking for goal and strength all over the field, the Kangaroos’ top eight hopes have skyrocketed and they have a far less severe run home than most of their opponents for a spot in the bottom half of the eight.
“People would think it’s an overnight turnaround … but we didn’t think we were going as poorly internally as everyone else thought – though we did provide some decent evidence for them to think that,” Scott said.
“Our players now have enough evidence to know our best is pretty good.
“The players have turned this around. This is a player-led recovery if you like.”
But Scott said North must show consistency for the rest of the season to prove they have come of age as a team.
He says continuing to work hard is the only way they’ll make the most of some positive signs for the future.
“I don’t think you can say as a team we’ve come of age until we do it on a consistent basis, so the rest of the season’s going to be really important,” Scott said.
Petrie, who was substituted at three-quarter-time, said he felt some tightness in his groin and was confident he will be fit to play against Richmond next weekend.