There are plenty of reasons to write off North Melbourne but coach Brad Scott isn’t counting his side out of playing an influential role in September.
At times, the Kangaroos were all at sea in Saturday’s loss to Hawthorn, conceding the first 46 points of the game and failing to kick a goal in the final term.
The loss was their seventh-straight against top-eight opposition, the only sides that count at the end of the season.
Two more await in the final two rounds – the high-flying Swans and Greater Western Sydney.
Scott could be without veteran Brent Harvey for one of those weeks after the 429-game veteran caught Sam Mitchell high with a swinging arm in the 39-point defeat.
There are even downsides in a bevvy of players set to prove their AFL fitness in the coming weeks.
Scott is refusing to be downcast by the negatives, instead painting their remaining games as a chance to rebound.
“There’s some things to look forward to in terms of personnel and opportunities,” he said.
It helps that the Kangaroos have made preliminary finals in the last two seasons.
“Probably in all but one or two years in the last five or six we’ve been scrambling at this point of the season,” he said.
“On the back of a good start … from round seven we started losing blokes each week.
“There’s still a real unflinching belief that our best can compete with the best. Once you get to September, who knows?”
The Kangaroos coach said Sam Wright, Luke McDonald, Ben Jacobs, Shaun Higgins, Kayne Turner and Jarrad Waite would all be likely to show their
Ben Brown and Scott Thompson, omissions from Saturday’s game, are also likely to contend for the match against Sydney in Hobart, though not guaranteed by Scott.
“Whether they’re right to go next week or the next couple of weeks, we;ll have to take a close look,” he said.
“It’s tough but we’ll still have a good look at the balance of whether they’re ready (and) whether we need to take a calcuated risk with some of them.”