North Melbourne are sweating on a lengthy injury list ahead of Friday night’s AFL blockbuster against Hawthorn.
The Kangaroos had five players hurt in Saturday night’s 31-point loss to third-placed Geelong.
Captain Andrew Swallow (concussion), Ben Cunnington (cork leg), Nick Dal Santo (groin), Robin Nahas (compound fracture of a finger) and Shaun Atley (ankle) are all in some doubt for the Hawks match.
Swallow did not return after his head hit the ground in a tackle during the first term.
Cunnington and Dal Santo played out the game, but were struggling because of their injuries.
Coach Brad Scott said after that match it was too early to say whether any of the five injured players would definitely miss next Friday night’s game.
While he conceded the injuries were a factor in the loss to Geelong, Scott refused to use them as an excuse.
“Really good teams don’t look at the circumstances,” Scott said.
“Again, I’m not going to say there wasn’t duress – clearly there was.
“But one of the hallmarks of really good, solid teams is they find a way under duress.”
North went into this weekend as the league’s top team and the loss to the third-placed Cats will again lead to queries about whether the Kangaroos are the real deal.
“I hope so – it’s really helped me throughout the year,” Scott said.
“It’s been great … when you’re 10-1, you have to try to keep your players realistic and keep their feet on the ground.
“You guys (media) are doing a perfect job of that for me.”
North were 10 points ahead at halftime after a strong second term, but Geelong quickly regained the lead at the start of the third quarter and took control of the match.