North Melbourne will on Sunday strive to bounce back from consecutive defeats as it takes on the Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium.
The Roos put in a competitive performance against Essendon on Sunday, and recorded 20 more clearances over the match, but couldn't turn territory into scores.
John Longmire's men have won their last four on the bounce, and sit in the top four with a percentage of 126.5.
When last the teams met, North Melbourne led throughout the match but was pipped at the post.
Could the Kangaroos sustain a similar effort for just a few more minutes this Sunday afternoon?
There's plenty to play for as the Roos celebrate the 25-year (+1) anniversary of the 1996 premiership.
Roos regain a handful
Six North Melbourne players tested positive for COVID-19 in the days following the defeat to Hawthorn in Round 19.
Ben Cunnington's progress towards a playing return was halted, while Aidan Corr, Paul Curtis, Aaron Hall, Jack Mahony and Lachie Young were all ruled out of the AFL team.
Though the engine room escaped infection, the impact of an out on every line rippled throughout the Roos' game.
Curtis' return to the forward line will go some way to solving the chemistry issues posed by interim senior coach Leigh Adams following the defeat to the Dons.
Hall's voice, run and piercing kicking will be welcome, while Corr's game will complement Ben McKay and Kallan Dawson on the last line.
Sydney's strong form
Since the Swans' narrow defeat to Essendon in Round 16 they've peeled off four consecutive wins, among them the runners-up and Justin Longmuir's resurgent Fremantle.
The forward line is multidimensional, with Tom Papley and Errol Gulden running the flanks, and Isaac Heeney and Will Hayward presenting match-up challenges closer to goal.
At the other end, McCartin brothers Paddy and Tom have reunited with success, and released Dane Rampe to play a more adventurous role.
The Swans have elevated their contest, underpinned by the evergreen Luke Parker, Callum Mills' growth and James Rowbottom's doggedness.
The trust they have forged over the home-and-away season is visible, and they will be formidable opponents on Sunday afternoon.
Curtis Taylor's first milestone
No North Melbourne player has encapsulated the worth of an educational approach to a rebuild better than Curtis Taylor.
A hit-up forward over his first two seasons at Arden Street, the 22-year-old has since matured into a long-term wing solution for the Roos.
Taylor's work ethic is reflected in his season averages of more than two inside 50s, two rebound 50s and four marks.
In the narrow loss to Collingwood at the MCG in Round 17, he was energised by the Roos' more flowing footy, and collected a season-high 23 disposals and 10 marks.
As this team builds chemistry and the players spend more time with each other on the field, expect the bones of Taylor's game to deliver even greater dividends.
Last time they met…
On that sunny April day at the SCG, the Roos jumped out to a healthy lead in the third term before they were reeled in with minutes to go.
Skipper Jack Ziebell swung forward to boot an equal career-best five goals, while Jy Simpkin sliced through the middle of the ground with 33 disposals, 543 metres gained and a goal.
When Kayne Turner found the big sticks early in the final term it appeared a second win was on the cards, but the Swans responded with the last four goals.
Justin McInerney drove his team forward again and again with 14 final-quarter touches, and Isaac Heeney showcased his poacher's instinct with two late goals.
Little moments proved critical, and with the experience they've since accumulated, the young Roos may not have let the match slip.
The Swans have also grown, Sunday is an opportunity for Adams' side to measure what they've learned from a long winter.