Herald Sun

7 DEADLY WINS

- Grant.baker@news.com.au

NORTH Mel­bourne has forced its play­ers to con­front an un­com­fort­able truth ahead of tonight’s clash with Essendon.

The Kan­ga­roos have de­vel­oped a pat­tern of bounc­ing back strongly af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing loss only to then prove un­able to main­tain the rage in the fol­low­ing game.

The loss-win-loss pat­tern has been only bro­ken this year by a four-week pe­riod from rounds 6-9 when a pair of wins was fol­lowed by con­sec­u­tive losses.

And North is again “due” for a loss tonight.

The Roos were on the end of a shock­ing 55-point de­feat to then bot­tom-of-the-lad­der Gold Coast a fort­night ago, only to play ar­guably their best football of the year against Gee­long last Satur­day night to bank a 41-point win.

Roos star Jack Ziebell told the Her­ald Sun it “ab­so­lutely” stung when the team’s patchy track record was pointed out in de­tail by the coaches this week.

“We’ve got no rea­son to be com­pla­cent at all, con­sid­er­ing the sea­son we have had be­ing so up and down, we’ve re­ally got to put our foot down and make sure we get a re­sult (tonight),” Ziebell said.

“For us go­ing for­ward, it is re­ally im­por­tant that we bring con­sis­tency to our football.

“Ab­so­lutely (it stings) — it’s not what you want to stand for as a footy club.

“It is good that the boys re­spond when their backs are against the wall but it shouldn’t have to take the backs against the wall to re­spond.”

The pat­tern can be seen in the clubs’ “scores against” col­umn this year.

In the six matches af­ter a win, the Roos have con­ceded an av­er­age of al­most 110 points — with Port Ade­laide, Hawthorn, Fre­man­tle and Gold Coast all cash­ing in.

In the seven matches fol­low­ing a loss, North has re­stricted op­po­nents to an av­er­age of 74 points.

Ziebell said the team was com­mit­ted to bring­ing the same ef­fort to tonight’s game as it did against the Cats.

“That’s been our fo­cus this week — mak­ing sure our con­sis­tency is right and the prepa­ra­tion is 100 per cent ready to go,” he said.

“If that is the case, then we’ll look to re­peat the ef­fort we brought out last week­end against Gee­long.”

The sec­ond-game-back is­sue has af­fected the Kan­ga­roos in the whole time Brad Scott has been coach — and has been par­tic­u­larly ap­par­ent fol­low­ing heavy defeats.

Cham­pion Data stats show that since 2009, the Roos have won 16 of 19 games fol­low­ing a loss of 50 points or more — putting them No.1 in the com­pe­ti­tion for bounc­ing back.

Two weeks af­ter such a heavy losses, the Roos’ win­ning per­cent­age drops to 41 per cent — ninth in the AFL.

FOR­WARD Aaron Black was last night named to re­place sus­pended Drew Petrie for tonight’s match.

It shouldn’t have to take the backs against the wall to re­spond.

 ??  ?? Jack Ziebell gets rid of the ball against Greater Western Syd­ney, a match
which North Mel­bourne won.
Jack Ziebell gets rid of the ball against Greater Western Syd­ney, a match which North Mel­bourne won.

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