7 DEADLY WINS
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.