North Melbourne have a chance for AFL preliminary final redemption when they host Sydney on Saturday night.
But gaining revenge for their 71-point point September belting isn’t the Kangaroos’ objective at Etihad Stadium.
It’s just to play good footy again.
In a bipolar 5-5 start to the year, North have been shown up by competition powerhouses and are yet to replicate the form that took them to the season’s second-last week in 2014.
Top eight sides Adelaide, Hawthorn and Fremantle have dished out ten-goal beltings to the Kangaroos.
But after Sunday’s gutsy 10-point win over the high-flying Eagles, Jack Ziebell says North Melbourne have a platform to rebuild their season – and reputation.
“It’s a massive game for us against one of the contenders,” Ziebell said.
“Our track record from the start of the season hasn’t been great against the top sides.
“We’re really keen to get out there and have a real dip against a quality opponent.”
Ziebell conceded respect for the club had dipped since last year’s finals series, when they knocked out Geelong and Essendon.
While Saturday night is the first time the Kangaroos have faced the Swans since their finals loss, Ziebell said it wasn’t being overblown internally.
“It’s just another game, but we did get our pants pulled down by Sydney in the prelim,” he said.
“It’s definitely in the back of your mind but the two teams are a lot different with personnel.
Chief among those changes is coach Brad Scott’s departure to the couch while he recovers from back surgery.
Scott is recovering well from the operation and was leaving all things coaching to caretaker boss Darren Crocker this week.
Ziebell said in the aftermath of the Kangaroos’ win over West Coast, a pair of players had stolen the limelight at the club.
Brent Harvey’s cheeky effort to drop the ball out of sight of umpires to earn a 50 metre penalty against Matt Priddis was popular with his teammates.
“He pulled a little shifty and got the job done … Boomer’s an opportunist and that’s why we love him,” Ziebell said.
But Ziebell said there were plenty of laughs at Trent Dumont’s expense after the young Roo was accidentally hit high by umpire Ray Chamberlain.
“He was a little bit rattled after that, it was a pretty solid hit,” he said.
“Getting cleaned up by an umpire is not something to be proud of.”