Simpson says North on the right track - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Simpson says North on the right track

By Roger Vaughan 01/08/2009 03:00:56 PM Comments (0)

Adam Simpson is certain of two things - that now is the perfect time to retire from the AFL and his beloved North Melbourne are on the right track.

Simpson played his 306th and final senior game on Friday night as the Kangaroos lost to Carlton by 10 points at Etihad Stadium.

He is one of the game's most respected players and the two teams formed a guard of honour as Simpson was chaired from the field post-match.

Simpson could barely walk after the match because of a calf muscle strain, but he helped set up three goals.

One North goal came from Simpson's impressive mid-air soccer kick.

"I only did that because I didn't have the pace to pick it up - that was a bit of luck," Simpson said with a grin.

Simpson had a few tears before and after the game and said the overriding emotion was relief.

He was also proud of the Kangaroos, who have not won since round nine.

"There's a real positive feel about the place - I know we haven't won and it's been disappointing, but you can just tell the cog has turned a little bit in our direction," he said.

It is proving a tough initiation for caretaker coach Darren Crocker, who took over from Dean Laidley six matches ago.

North had a draw against Richmond a fortnight ago and on Friday night they only had themselves to blame, kicking nine behinds and one out on the full in the last quarter.

"It's been frustrating that we've been able to come so far in so many games and been in winning positions, (but) not been able to get over the line," Crocker said.

"We were all over the top of them, I asked the boys for a special effort at three-quarter time, considering the circumstances.

"They really responded, 14 inside 50s, but unfortunately we couldn't put them through the big sticks."

Simpson and Crocker continue to be encouraged by North's youngsters - Scott Thompson kept Brendan Fevola to three goals, Liam Anthony had plenty of the ball and Lindsay Thomas was dangerous in attack.

Levi Greenwood was also notable for his tagging job on Carlton captain Chris Judd.

While Greenwood's constant holding tactics needed attention from the umpires, his persistence was admirable.

He kept Judd to under 10 touches in the first half, but had to leave the game in the second half because of a knee injury.

Judd then went forward and became more effective for Carlton in the hectic last term.

"What you see is what you get - he just had a really good crack," Simpson said of Greenwood.

"His (Judd's) influence wasn't great."

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