It was a case of simply leaving its run too late, as North Melbourne almost managed a stunning comeback against Hawthorn.

Jy Simpkin’s snap with barely 20 seconds left on the clock sailed just wide, as the Roos fell by four points.

Like last week against Sydney, it was a matter of ‘what could have been’.

“We did it again … we just got going in the last quarter,” coach Rhyce Shaw said.

“It just wasn’t early enough.

“It’s so hard to sit here right now and see what we did in the last quarter, and if we produce that type of football we know we can beat anyone. We know that.

“But if you leave it to chance, the game’s in the balance. To Hawthorn’s credit, they took their chances in that first half.

“The last two weeks it’s essentially been the same story, so we’ve got to go to work on that as a team and as coaches, and work out how we can allow our players to play that way earlier.

“We know we are good enough. It’s disappointing, but we’ve got to find a way to do it for longer.”

RELATED: Match report

North booted the last four goals of the game, after falling behind by as much as 31 points.

The likes of Curtis Taylor, Tarryn Thomas, Cameron Zurhaar and first-gamer Tristan Xerri among those to have an impact late.

“The kids stood up again and there were really strong performances down back from a number of defenders,” Shaw said.

“’Walks’ (Josh Walker) probably played his best game for us, Lukey Mac (Luke McDonald) played really well … a number of guys continue to play good footy, we’re just not doing it for long enough.”

Captain Jack Ziebell rolled an ankle in the first quarter and left the game for good in the final term because of a left hamstring issue.

"He rolled his ankle pretty badly in that first quarter. He soldiered on really well," Shaw said.

"He's the captain of the side, he put himself into the middle of the ground, got us going at periods there leading into half-time.

"I don't know how bad the hammy is. It was bad enough to keep him out, so that's not a great sign for Jack."

Ziebell's dual injuries followed reigning Syd Barker medallist Ben Cunnington being a late withdrawal for the second straight week.

Cunnington is dealing with a nerve impingement in his back.

"It's a pain in the butt, to be honest. It's not ideal for Ben, it's not ideal for us," Shaw added.

"He looked really good at a point during the week, did a little bit of a run around and a kick and it seemed like he was improving but he just woke up and it's just not to the standard.

"We can't roll him out there and give him the best chance of playing when he can't bend down."

07:30 Mins
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Rhyce Shaw post-match (Rd 4, 2020)

Senior North Melbourne Coach Rhyce Shaw speaks with the media.

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