There was a lot to like for North Melbourne coach Brad Scott on Saturday night, but plenty he hated.
The Kangaroos showed so much pluck to snatch the lead late against Port Adelaide, given they Jack Ziebell was substituted soon after staggering from the field in the first quarter.
Scott was proud of the fightback, but likened Port’s two late goals to rubbing “salt into the wounds”.
“Pride doesn’t give us the four points,” he added.
And in assessing the reasons behind the eight-point defeat, skill errors – especially in defence – stood out.
“It’s really disappointing. Because if we defended better, I’d be sitting here saying it was a bit of a watershed moment for a lot of our guys,” Scott said.
“Who really stepped up under pressure.
“But when you lose, you don’t feel the same way.”
Scott noted there were far too many gifted goals – failing to guard the goal-line, holding-the-ball freekicks, terrible turnovers and “diabolic” setup at stoppages.
“Really simple stuff,” he said.
“There were some fundamental things we didn’t do well.
“Stuff that shouldn’t happen at an AFL club, let alone one that is aspiring to play finals.”
At the other end of the park, Jarrad Waite was held goal-less one week after his bag of seven against Brisbane at the same venue.
Scott conceded the off-season recruit hadn’t quite clicked in the Kangaroos’ forward line yet.
“We’ve still got some work to do with Jarrad in terms of him fitting into the way we want to play. It’s not perfect at the moment,” he said.
“But I’ve still got real confidence that he’ll be a really good player for us.”
Ziebell spent Saturday night in hospital due to his chest injury, while veteran Daniel Wells is no guarantee to return from his Achilles niggle against Geelong in round four.
“He’ll be close. He was really close to playing tonight,” Scott said.
“I made the decision that he wasn’t 100 per cent and we need him at his best.
“If he’s not quite at his best, we’re better off getting him right and waiting another week.
“That will be the same case this week.”