North Melbourne coach Brad Scott had to remind his players that life at the top of the AFL tree isn’t all doom and gloom after last week’s loss to Geelong.
The Kangaroos are in the midst of a challenging block of matches against top-eight opponents, but remain a game clear at the top of the ladder, despite losses to Sydney and the Cats in the past three weeks.
The big tests keep coming for North – they face reigning premiers Hawthorn on Friday night – and Scott isn’t allowing his charges to dwell on their setback against Geelong.
“Scotty just had to remind us that we’re 10-2 because we were all pretty flat about the performance,” Kangaroos defender Luke McDonald said.
“But going up against Hawthorn on a Friday night … they’ve won the last three premierships and there’s no bigger scalp, so we’ll be really looking forward to it.”
The Kangaroos will at least have a much clearer picture of where they sit in the competition after they face the Hawks, Adelaide and West Coast in their next three matches.
Hawthorn roughed up the Roos when they last met in round five last year when North lost by 60 points, and McDonald is expecting another torrid encounter.
“They’re a physical side, but I think last year the thing we were most disappointed about was losing by 10 goals – not any of the physicality stuff,” he said.
“That’s what you expect when you play such a good side like Hawthorn.
“(But) the thing with our side this year is, no matter who we play ,we think we can beat them.
“The Hawks haven’t been going as well (as in the past), but they’re still 9-3, they’ve still got a lot of good premiership players and they’re going to be really pumped.”
Andrew Swallow (concussion), Ben Cunnington (quad), Shaun Atley (ankle), Nick Dal Santo (groin) and Robin Nahas (broken finger) must all prove their fitness to play against the Hawks.