Shaun Higgins says the reminder of the season is all about “opportunity” for North Melbourne as it navigates through a tough year.
“To close out the remainder of the season we’ve got some other quality teams in Port Adelaide, West Coast, Fremantle and Gold Coast still to play, so there is opportunity there for us, there’s opportunity for individuals and there’s opportunity for us as a team,” he told SEN.
“We get another opportunity against a quality side this week, we then have to back it up against Collingwood who clearly have been a form side over the last few years.”
With three wins from 11 games, Higgins said there is still time for the injury-riddled Roos to find form.
“We need a win and more important than that we need to put more of the way we want to play together,” he said.
“We’re not in the position that we wanted to be or where I thought we would be.
“I’m still optimistic that the list we’ve got is still the list that I knew we had and thought could compete.”
With 17 players currently unavailable for selection due to injury, Higgins said the depth of the club is being challenged.
"When we had a full list at the start of the year, we had a good win against St Kilda and we had a good win against GWS,” Higgins said.
“Unfortunately, the last couple of months we haven’t had that.
“We need a lot of things to align that aren’t going our way at the minute, so we’re clearly not playing the football we want and the football that 'Shawry' (Rhyce Shaw) and all of us thought we could – and still think we can.
"I’m also realistic and see the challenges that we’ve had and reasons for that, and they’re not excuses and clearly we’re not playing anywhere near the level we should be, but we know we're a side that needed a really even contribution.
"We haven’t got the depth on our list as some other teams and we know that and that’s why we’ve gone to work in the free agency period, the trade period and the draft – and the club will continue to do that.”
While it’s not an excuse, Higgins said the mounting injuries had savaged North’s 2020 hopes.
“We’re having guys, multiple guys … two-three guys, get injured in a game, giving us no interchange, all challenges that we’re working through at the moment,” he said.
“Also when you’re backing up games as quickly as we have done in the past, two four-day breaks into a six-day break, and as disappointing as the result is, you then need to go and detail around why that happened and address the issues.”