Roos owe Crows for round one debacle

Star North Melbourne forward Shaun Higgins feels like he owes Adelaide some payback after the Crows ruined his first game for the Kangaroos last year.

In his first appearance for North after switching from the Western Bulldogs as a free agent, Higgins and his new teammates were demolished to the tune of 77 points at Adelaide Oval in their season-opener.

North will host Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night in the return bout, with the Roos intent on breaking through for their first round-one win since 2009.

Higgins said there was no doubt last season’s drubbing had been on his mind in the lead-up to Saturday night’s clash.

“You don’t like to start off round one with a loss and especially in the fashion that we did last year,” Higgins said on Friday.

“But it’s a different year and we feel like we’ve prepared really well. We’ve got a full squad to pick from, we’re in good shape and we’re looking forward to it.

“Ideally all teams would like to win round one but we’d also like to win rounds two, three and four as well.

“Our full focus is on tomorrow night and we’re looking forward to a good start but it’s only four points as well.”

North coach Brad Scott has tweaked his pre-season training regime significantly in a bid to get his side’s campaign off to a winning start for the first time under his charge.

Higgins’ own preparation hit a hurdle in late February when he underwent surgery after reporting soreness in his left knee following the Kangaroos’ opening NAB Challenge match against St Kilda.

“We said from the get-go that it was really minor,” he said.

“I probably could have played earlier than this but we wanted to make sure that I was ready to go strength-wise. That was probably the main hurdle that we had to get over.

“I always had in mind that I’d be ready to go.”

The Crows have been a hard team to gauge for many following the departure of star playmaker Patrick Dangerfield, but Higgins has no doubt about the challenge they present.

“They’re a quality side, they have been for a long period of time. You don’t win a final last year on the back of just one player,” he said.

“Although (Dangerfield’s) a significant player we still expect them to be quality opposition.”

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