The improvement in North Melbourne’s game this season has been immense, and with the club having won two of its last three games, it seems like everything is starting to click for David Noble’s young side.
The inescapable fact though is that North is still placed bottom of the ladder, sitting two points and percentage behind 17th placed Hawthorn.
As the end of the season approaches, media rhetoric inevitably turns to the discussion of tanking, securing a bottom placed finish to secure the number one draft pick.
North, however, is doing everything it can to climb the ladder.
“We haven’t sat down as a group and used that as an opportunity to say that’s not where we want to finish … [but] if you ask anyone in our organisation we don’t want to finish down the bottom,” Noble said.
“We’ve probably tended to look at how we can continue to make ourselves better each week, and with that results tend to come which we’re now seeing.
“We’re just excited that each week we can get out, continue to try and improve and take on whoever comes our way.”
North heads into Sunday’s clash with Essendon full of confidence after overcoming one of the most difficult road trips in the competition, playing West Coast in Perth.
Consistent, four quarter performances have been one of North’s overarching goals this season, with the side often struggling to perform for the full contest.
Noble says the West Coast game is the perfect example of the performances he wants his side to be known for.
“I thought we hung in there in the first and second particularly well, and then we were able to have that arm-wrestle in the last quarter,” he said.
“If you went back and looked at our quarter by quarter scenario we were able to get things on our terms … it was the consistency of what we did through the four quarters.
“That’s what good organisations do, they’re pretty methodical in how they go about it. We certainly enjoyed the win for the first 24 hours and then we moved onto the Bombers.”
The clash against the Bombers offers another barometer for North to test its improvement, after the Round 10 clash ended with a 72-point victory to Essendon.
North won the inside 50 count on the day, but Essendon’s speed and efficiency through the midfield proved too strong on that occasion.
Noble, however, is keen to rectify the loss to North’s traditional rivals.
“We need to be on our mettle. We certainly believe we’ve got some better layers in our offence and defence to be able to deal with that and give them a better run for their money,” he said.
“They’ve got some run off that half-back area, we know if we’re not accountable in the midfield they can really hurt you and get the ball moving in that forward end really quickly.
“They’re a dangerous team and if we’re not on they can certainly counterattack on you really quickly and certainly put some scoreboard pressure on in a really quick space of time.”