North aim to be AFL’s Leicester City

Drew Petrie can identify with Leicester City’s miraculous English soccer triumph.

While the comparison is not perfect – North Melbourne have made the last two AFL preliminary finals – they are another sporting minnow determined to defy the big fish and nail the big catch.

North are unbeaten after six rounds and daring to dream of their first premiership since 1999.

On Sunday, Petrie will become only the fifth Kangaroo to play 300 games for the club.

He fronted a media conference on Tuesday, just hours after Leicester were confirmed as Premier League champions in one of sport’s ultimate rags-to-riches triumphs.

Petrie said North, home of the Shinboner Spirit, also enjoy punching above their weight.

“I haven’t thought of that analogy, but it’s a good one,” he said when asked about Leicester.

“They’ve come from nowhere.

“We haven’t come from nowhere … but North are never going to be spoken of as one of the big four.

“We’re fighting for the small people … we’re in that (group) of small sporting sides around the world that are not in the bright lights all the time.”

Even with their 6-0 start, North still have their doubters and Petrie can understand the scepticism.

He noted they have only beaten two teams currently in the top eight.

But they are daring to dream big at Arden St.

“It’s the best team I’ve played in, the best group of players I’ve played with performance-wise,” said Petrie, who has been part of three preliminary finals at North.

“This is the most consistent side with the most potential to take this group somewhere pretty special.

“The last two years have been good, this year has been okay so far.

“We still have a long way to go – don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting too carried away with things yet – but the potential is there with this group.”

It is already a big year for North – along with Petrie’s milestone, later this season Brent Harvey will break Michael Tuck’s AFL games record of 426.

“That’s the thing – anywhere else, you’d probably be showered with praise,” Petrie joked.

“Here, Boomer is just like ‘whatever’.”

While the 33-year-old has no intention of still playing at 38, as Harvey is, Petrie has taken great inspiration from his teammate.

“He’s been a good role medal, Brent … I saw how he prepared for footy and he just keeps going,” Petrie said.

“He trains every single sessions, he’s not someone who misses things and gets looked after and (is) wrapped in cotton wool each week.

“When a 38-year-old keeps training every week, me at 33, there’s no excuses.”

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