'Roos aim for winning Gold Coast goodbye - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Roos aim for winning Gold Coast goodbye

By Adam Cooper 29/07/2008 08:25:40 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne say thanks and goodbye to the Gold Coast this weekend, but captain Adam Simpson made it clear this last trip is purely business.

Simpson labelled Saturday night's clash with the Brisbane Lions at Carrara the Kangaroos' biggest of the season, which will likely determine where they finish on the ladder, and by extension, how well-placed they are in the premiership race.

North will start round 18 fifth and could end it level on points with fourth-placed Sydney, if they win and the Swans lose to the second-placed Western Bulldogs.

Simpson said North were more focused on securing their finals berth than fourth spot given the tight race for September.

But the fact no team has reached the grand final from outside the top four under the current finals system gives the Roos plenty to play for.

"This game against Brisbane is probably going to determine where we end up," Simpson said.

"It's pretty much our biggest game of the year and I'm sure Brisbane are saying the same thing.

"We're in fifth spot this week but we could be out of the eight next week.

"We're not comfortable where we are. We know how important it is to win this week and with five games to go we probably need to win three at least to play finals footy."

Regardless of the result, North will close the unsuccessful Gold Coast chapter of their history after two years of calling the strip their second home.

North's decision last year to reject the AFL's relocation offer and commit their future to Melbourne meant they were released from a contract to play games there in 2009.

Their five home games have brought average crowds of 9,888, but Simpson maintained they enjoyed playing there and had received good support from the region.

"I wouldn't say a sense of relief (at finishing the contract), they've been good to us, the Gold Coast crowd," he said.

"It's unfortunate it didn't work out and Brisbane's probably going to get the most support.

"But that's the way it is, it doesn't worry us at all."

Ruck-forward David Hale has enjoyed his returns to the Gold Coast, where he grew up, but admitted he would also not miss playing there.

"For our supporters down here it's good that we can get 11 home games again and not have to travel as much as we have the last few years," he said.

"I go home and see Dad and my sisters enough anyway and I've been here seven years so I'm pretty settled."

Hale is currently enjoying his most consistent season, which he attributed to greater self-belief and the assurance he could now compete with the strongest and most experienced ruckmen in the competition.

His improvement has pleased coach Dean Laidley, who in round 11 demanded publicly that Hale produce his best more regularly - after he booted four goals against reigning premier Geelong.

Hale said Laidley's frustration was justified, as the pair had spoken for 18 months about him stringing good games together.

"I'd have games where I'd play well and then drop off from that for two games and then contribute again," he said.

"But this year I've had five or six games where I've strung together where I've contributed and done my role and it's something he's a lot happier with and it's something that's helped the team."

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