Brad Scott would much rather North Melbourne win their last game of the AFL season than the first.
But as much as he wanted to play down the significance of Saturday night’s 10-point success against Adelaide, he admitted to satisfaction that the monkey is off their back.
It was the first time North have won a season opener since 2009 – a year before Scott took over.
There had been a lot of talk out of Arden St over summer about wanting to start the season on the right foot and their pre-season was overhauled accordingly.
Adelaide nearly broke clear, leading by four goals early in the third term, but North ground out an impressive win.
Initially, Scott was flippant about the mini-milestone.
“I thought at one stage it was worth 12 points and not four, the importance placed on it,” he said.
But Scott then admitted it meant they are not chasing their tails after round one.
“So it’s far better winning it than losing it, but at the end of the finals series we’ve finished in the top four the last two years and haven’t won round one,” he noted.
“This isn’t going to give us any right to finish higher up on the ladder.
“Games at the end of the year are more important than at the start, when it comes to September.
“But there’s no doubt we changed our preparation significantly this year, because we couldn’t keep doing the same thing and getting the same result early on.”
Scott added that North have never been so well prepared going into the start of the season.
One player who certainly looks set for another big year is Todd Goldstein, last year’s All-Australian ruckman.
He was mighty in the last quarter, kicking the goal that put North in front for the first time since the opening term and playing a huge role as they then held off the Crows.
“Goldy dug deep when it really mattered and that’s the mark of a really good player,” Scott said.
“Two years ago, Goldy really set himself to become one of the genuinely-elite ruckmen in the competition and he’s certainly up in the best few going around.”
North won despite Hawthorn recruit Jed Anderson hurting his hamstring in the second term, meaning they only had three on the bench.
But Scott said the scenario showed the benefit of scrapping the sub rule and lowering the interchange cap.
“We were down one in numbers, but it meant we could rotate others more frequently,” Scott said.
“It’s a pretty good example of why I think the players prefer the sub rule going.
“If you have four on the bench and you lose one, the limited rotations mean the opposition can’t exploit that.
“It worked pretty well for both teams tonight.”
Scans will determined how many games that Anderson misses because of his injury.