North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has bemoaned his side's lack of composure in its 40-point loss to Essendon on Sunday afternoon.

Although able to duke it out with the Bombers for three quarters, in the third term the Roos conceded eight goals and kicked just two of their own, which ultimately decided the game.

"Essendon was just so much better than us today at being able to just get composed when they needed to," Clarkson said post-match.


"I thought that was the difference in the two sides over the course of the game. We were really, really competitive obviously, but disappointed that the game got away from us in that third quarter."

That polish that Essendon was able to find allowed it to take 18 marks inside 50 compared to North's nine, while Clarkson described the contested mark count of 14-2, Essendon's way, as "a smashing".

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"The passages of ball movement ended up so often in an Essendon mark and composure… that was the difference in the sides I thought. That they were able to get those composed marks inside 50 and control the game just a little bit more than what we were," he said.

"When the avalanche happened in the third quarter, we just couldn't stop that part of the game in particular."

Clarkson hoped fans would see some green shoots in the Roos' otherwise lacklustre year, pointing to key defender Wil Dawson's debut and first-year player Zane Duursma as positives.

"As long as our fans are seeing our boys are having a go and there's some progress there," Clarkson said.

"We hate losing games of footy but we know it's just part of the journey for us at the current time.

"We'll just keep chipping away and hopefully both the players and our fans are the same in terms of just seeing little things along the way.

"You think it might be tough being winless at this point of the year but we've got another 13 games and that's just great for our footy club that these players get exposure to this level of footy and how they can get better.

"(It will help them) understand the standard they need to get to to be competitive in this league."

One area that the Roos were able to excel was at the contest, winning the clearance count 42-28, something few sides have achieved against Essendon this year, but unable to turn that into consistent scoring opportunities throughout the game.

North Melbourne defender Miller Bergman also spent the final quarter on the bench nursing an injured hamstring, which will be scanned and graded in the coming days.


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