North Melbourne veteran Drew Petrie says his team needs a fast start if they are to take the next step up to an AFL championship.
The Kangaroos were slow out of the blocks in 2015, winning only 50 per cent of their games in the opening 14 rounds.
They powered home to play in their second consecutive preliminary final, when they lost to West Coast, but Petrie said they needed a better opening.
“The last two seasons we’ve had slow starts and we’ve had to win a lot of games in the second half of the year just to make the finals for starters,” he said.
“We need to make top four and hopefully get a rest.”
Petrie said his play was indicative of the Kangaroos’ sluggish start.
“I had a really ordinary first eight weeks of the year which reflected the side’s slow start,” Petrie said.
“Definitely my focus in the new year is to worry about getting a kick in the first month of the season.”
Petrie said he’d lost over four kilograms in the past few months to make sure he hit the ground running.
“I’m just trying to be a little bit lighter at this time of year to make sure I’m running really well and not carrying any extra weight that I don’t need and hopefully in the next few months I will put on some extra strength.”
The Kangaroos started pre-season a week ago and Petrie said, despite making his debut back in 2001, he was still up for it.
“I”m excited a lot this season given how well we’ve gone these last two years,” he said.
“We think there’s improvement in us all still and we want to get to that last Saturday in September and play in a grand final.
With 293 games under his belt Petrie is among the old guard at the Kangaroos – but not too old to win a flag.
North will have the second oldest team in the competition with six players, included 33-year-old Petrie, over 30.
After back-to-back preliminary final appearances, the Kangaroos feel the premiership window is still open.
“I think sides that have won premierships in the last decade have experience on their side,” Petrie said.
“The experienced guys we’ve got all have improvement in us.”