Kangaroos coach Crocker earns first win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos coach Crocker earns first win

09/08/2009 05:50:41 PM Comments (0)

Darren Crocker won't have to worry about North Melbourne's ruck stocks if he earns the full-time AFL coaching job after Todd Goldstein's starring role in Sunday's thrashing of Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

Goldstein's five goals and 25 hit-outs was the notable performance in a lacklustre game between two cellar dwellers, which the Kangaroos won 19.9 (123) to 8.13 (61) before a paltry crowd of 16,594.

The victory was Crocker's first in seven attempts since he was appointed caretaker coach after Dean Laidley quit mid-season, and he relished being doused with sports drinks by his players during the singing of the team song.

"When you break your duck and get your first win you've got to jump in the middle or the circle and get sprayed with Powerade," he said.

"So I'm nice and sticky at the moment, but I'll take that any day after a win."

As a candidate aiming to be appointed full-time coach, Crocker is hopeful he will get the chance to prepare North for a better 2010 after a threadbare campaign of five wins and three scores over 100 points in 19 rounds.

But Goldstein's haul in his 13th career game proves the Kangaroos are well-equipped for big men who can have an impact, as Hamish McIntosh, Drew Petrie (three goals) and Lachie Hansen (three) all did well against the Demons.

Add David Hale, currently in the VFL, and the ruck stocks are almost too good, as Crocker noted clubs really only needed three ruckmen on their lists.

But he said Petrie and Hansen were both best-suited in the forward line, and Goldstein was "definitely a ruckman" given his clever work in the centre.

"He's got the ability to give our midfield first use and his follow-ups are very good as a ruckman as well," Crocker said.

"He comes from a strong basketball background, so his awareness in close is very good. But as you can see, he can go forward at a pinch and can mark some strong footy as well."

If only Melbourne could call on such reserves.

The Demons entered the game with 20 players on their injured list following the withdrawal of defender Jared Rivers (groin), and lost first-gamer Rohan Bail (quad) after five minutes.

The injuries, combined with coach Dean Bailey's preference to continue experimenting with players positionally, meant the Demons offered little after quarter-time, when they were out-scored 15 goals to five.

Bailey's positional switches were not as notable as in last Sunday's loss to Richmond, which flared the debate over lowly sides tanking games for draft picks.

But he again used youngsters on North's more seasoned players, such as Shane Valenti tagging Brent Harvey and first-gamer Tom McNamara on Petrie.

After four-straight defeats Bailey was confident the bottom side could retain decent motivation levels for the rest of the season.

"We've had two years of getting ourselves up from losses and I've got no doubt they'll support each other during the week and we'll look forward to our next game," he said.

"Underneath it all there are a few resilient players who are really good leaders."

North's third-quarter return of 7.3 was their best of any quarter this season, and their score was their second-highest this season, behind the 20.5 they amassed against Port Adelaide in round seven.

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