Kangaroos are finals contenders: Grant - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos are finals contenders: Grant

By Sam Lienert 22/07/2008 02:34:00 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne's most experienced player Shannon Grant believes this year's Kangaroos are better than the team that reached a preliminary final last season and should be rated legitimate premiership contenders.

After an inconsistent start, the 'Roos climbed into eighth spot with three wins in the past four rounds, including impressive victories over Hawthorn and Collingwood.

Premiership forward Grant said the club's proven ability to compete with or beat all of the AFL's top teams this year created confidence they could make a serious impact come finals time.

Last year they copped huge thrashings - from Geelong and Port Adelaide - in two of their three finals.

"Over the last two or three weeks that consistency we've been able to build on probably puts us in a good position to give it a decent tilt this year," Grant said.

"I think there's a really strong self-belief at the moment and the players are starting to believe that they can contribute and they can perform on the biggest stage.

"We got whacked between the eyes a few times last year, but that was last year and so far this year we've shown that we can match it with the better sides in the competition."

Another North star, Brent Harvey, backed the view that this year's `Roos were better than the 2007 version, highlighting their improved depth.

"He's probably spot-on, we've introduced a lot more young guys, Gavin Urquhart, Ben Ross (and) Matt Campbell and Lindsay Thomas have stepped up again," Harvey said.

"Once these guys keep coming up and taking over when (experienced midfielders Adam Simpson and Brady Rawlings) come off the ground, I reckon we're a better team."

Grant and Harvey are two of three remaining veterans of the club's last premiership, in 1999, along with Simpson.

Meanwhile Grant, six matches shy of the 300-game mark, said he accepted coach Dean Laidley's view that a poor run of form could spell an end to his AFL career.

Laidley said last month he would never drop the classy forward to the VFL, but was then forced to leave him out of the club's round 15 clash with Port Adelaide for off-field disciplinary reasons.

On Monday night, Laidley told Foxsports that if Grant's form, which has been patchy at times this year, did not warrant senior selection, he would tell him "time's up" on his career.

The 31-year-old, yet to decide whether he wants to play on next year, said he was not expecting his long career to earn him preferential selection treatment.

"It's a fair call, there's no favours for anyone in this day and age, the reality is you've got to perform," Grant said.

"If you don't perform, your position in the side is going to come under scrutiny and I'm certainly no different to anyone else in the side."

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