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Post-match: Round 13

Ricky Mangidis  June 19, 2017 3:33 PM

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The first loss to St Kilda in nearly six years revealed clear focus areas for Brad Scott and North Melbourne.

Before preparation started on the Western Bulldogs, Scott fronted the media following the defeat at the hands of the Saints and discussed a number of topics.

RELATED: Brad Scott transcript

Mountford impresses

“Mountford is one of those who was pushing for a few weeks. He did a great job on Jack Steven in the first half. Steven went forward, to his credit, and impacted the game, but not on Declan.

“At half time we had to try and free the game up to try and score to get back in it. Even when we did that he played a really good role for us. He’s got some speed and good run and to his credit he takes the game on. He’s got a bit of what we need actually.”

When Declan Mountford came into the side to face St Kilda, it was off the back of an impressive run of form at VFL level for Werribee.

Showcasing the fruits of his time spent learning the different roles in the midfield, Mountford had an impressive outing.

First there was the tagging aspect against Steven. Then there was some time spent as an inside midfielder, before using the opportunity to show off his pace on the outside in the final quarter.

Skills v pressure

“We kicked the first goal and then just some inexplicable errors handed them two goals. We had the appetite for the contest tonight, and I don’t buy into guys not turning up to play.

“We didn’t execute tonight, that was the main problem. Sure we’ve had better effort and better intensity throughout the year, but that wasn’t the reason we won or lost. The execution of skill and the decision making under pressure wasn’t there.”

North’s pressure numbers were roughly in line with what it has been able to do throughout the season, indicating the effort levels were acceptable despite the end result.

The league average this season for kicking efficiency is 66 per cent. The Roos only went at 60.3 by foot on Friday night, leading to too many turnovers for the defensive unit to handle.

By not being able to consistently hit targets, North was pinned in its defensive half for long periods of time. It was clear particularly in the first half, when St Kilda was able to send in forward 50 entry after forward 50 entry.

The structure of the side

“We’ll continue to play to win. If that’s a question around will we start to play around with our side to look at other players, we don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive at the moment.

“We’ve got a lot of players who we think can make us better, and so we’ve got to look at the balance of the side. We’re still in that group of a number of teams who have still got genuine hope to play in September and that’s our ambition from this point on.”

In response to a query about whether finals were out of the question, Scott was clear players would be picked in the North side based on form.

With many of the younger players in the VFL showing promising signs, it appears the match committee won’t have to sacrifice the near future for development in the long-term.

Majak Daw, Dan Nielson and Mitch Hibberd appeared AFL-ready on the weekend, while Sam Durdin would have undoubtedly been in contention for a promotion if he didn’t suffer a concussion in the early minutes.

The injury list is also set to shrink in coming weeks, with Ben Jacobs, Sam Wright, Corey Wagner, Jy Simpkin and Ben McKay all approaching the end of their rehab cycle.