No escaping the heat for Kangaroos in AFL
North Melbourne players have had to face the heat over last weekend’s AFL fadeout against Port Adelaide, despite dodging a media backlash, says coach Brad Scott.
That defeat was overshadowed by winless Melbourne’s even more disastrous 101-point loss to Sydney on the same day, which has sparked a week-long wave of public criticism.
But after the Kangaroos let a 32-point lead become a two-point loss in the space of 22 error-studded minutes last Saturday, Scott has made sure his players’ mistakes were not glossed over within the club.
“They certainly haven’t dodged it internally,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“Clearly, we had to address what happened.
“We’ve never been a club that’s buried our heads in the sand and put on a brave face and tried to pretend it didn’t happen.
“We’ve confronted it head on. We’ve addressed it – we’ve gone over all the specifics.”
After a similarly-galling loss to the Western Bulldogs in the previous round, Scott said the Kangaroos had had it rammed home that they could not afford to be below their best at any stage.
“You don’t have to drop off too far for too long to be really exposed,” he said.
“We had that lesson painfully taught to us in the last 15 minutes of the game last weekend.”
Scott said it was not a case of capitulating, but of making a series of costly mistakes.
He said for most of the match, the Kangaroos did most things right.
That defeat has increased the importance of Sunday’s Etihad Stadium clash with Brisbane.
Both sides are on 3-5 records and the Lions have been buoyed by a win over Greater Western Sydney in which power forwards Jonathan Brown and Daniel Merrett combined for 12 goals.
That pair pose a threat for the Kangaroos, given Port’s Jay Schulz booted seven goals against them, including four in the last-term onslaught.
Scott said the Kangaroos had some defensive problems to fix, but they were not just confined to their backmen.
“It’s a bit of a contradiction really, because we actually think our key defenders have been pretty good on the whole this year,” Scott said.
“Jay Schulz was terrific against us on the weekend and really beat us one on one.
“But apart from that, I think our defenders have been very good.
“But it teaches you an important lesson – that your defence, the dam wall will break if the pressure’s not good enough all over the field.”
Scott backed former captain Brent Harvey to bounce back strongly from a very quiet game.© AAP 2013
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