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The fire in the belly

Playing football is full of challenges, but finding form and breaking back into an AFL team can sometimes be one of the toughest tasks.  That's the situation facing two of North Melbourne's most experienced defenders Scott McMahon and Michael Firrito, but neither has given up hope of returning to the Roos' best 22 before the end of the year.

"It is challenging. I speak for myself, but I just love the game, the contest, just everything about it. That passion drives you, and I'm sure it's the same for Spud (Firrito)," McMahon told

"You've still got that fire inside you to play at the highest level and that's what drives you whether you're playing VFL or AFL. As long as that's burning then we've still got the desire to play AFL and we're going to put our best foot forward.

"When that subsides or goes away that's the time I probably shouldn't be playing anymore."

The pair carried that winning attitude into its most recent outing with Werribee and helped the Tigers get over the line against Port Melbourne.

Despite a solid performance on an individual level, McMahon was full of praise for his team-mate.

"He (Firrito) definitely is the heart and soul of the club. He's been here for eleven years and everything he does is for North.

"That's the best way to put it, because nothing Spud does is for himself. He always puts the team first no matter whether he's playing AFL or VFL, he's always looking to put North Melbourne first. That shows his loyalty and the respect that he has for the club."

Werribee coach Scott West rapt with the duo after Sunday's win.

"One of the things I've been really impressed with in Spud (Firrito) has been his attitude and I never doubted that.  At his age and experience it probably would have been a bitter pill to swallow (coming back to the VFL) but he's been terrific," West said.

"Having talent like Spud and Scott (McMahon) in your team is just a huge bonus, for us as Werribee and me as a coach. I think the two of them work hand in hand really well. The communication and understanding between the two of them is outstanding because they've obviously played so much together."

McMahon believes the love of the game is key to staying in form and getting he and Firrito back to where they want to be.

"Obviously you'd rather play in the AFL and I'm sure Spud's the same, but if you don't, you still get a game for Werribee and you're still there to do your job and play as well as you can."