North vibrant but wary of Essendon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North vibrant but wary of Essendon

By Adam Cooper 22/07/2010 06:59:36 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says his players have an extra spring in their step because they're in the AFL finals race, but they're bracing for a belated Essendon response.

North could jump from ninth into the eight if they beat the struggling Bombers at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night and resurgent West Coast beat Carlton (eighth) at Subiaco Oval.

The Kangaroos' hopes of reaching the finals looked dashed when they lost to Sydney in round 15, but an impressive win over Richmond last weekend and successive Carlton defeats has given Arden Street a new vibrancy.

"We always call it loser's limp when you have a bad loss and you struggle to get yourself up for the next week," Scott said on Thursday.

"The reverse is certainly true when you have a great win and the guys have a realisation now that they know what it takes to win a game of footy.

"It's a real challenge for them to implement that all week, but they've got real confidence that if they play their way, play their style they can come away with the result.

"Our destiny is in our hands not only for the rest of our season, but within each game."

In contrast to North, Essendon's six straight defeats have heaped the pressure on coach Matthew Knights.

The Bombers were expected to rally last weekend before slumping to defeat to West Coast, but Scott was taking no chances.

"Just because Essendon's been under pressure it doesn't mean we go into the game with a four-goal head start," he said.

"We go into the game nil-all and the start is just as important this week as it is any other week.

"It's really important that our intensity is right early because Essendon this year have shown with some of the calibre of teams they have beaten (St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn), that if they get their tails up they're an extremely good side."

North awarded a debut to half-back Jamie MacMillan after some good form in the VFL, replacing Robbie Tarrant (broken thumb).

Scott was not prepared to recall goalsneak Lindsay Thomas early, as he could yet miss another two games because of a knee injury.

North also had no room for big man David Hale, who has been in the VFL since he had a quiet game against the Brisbane Lions in round 11.

Scott said Hale was best used as a ruckman who could pinch-hit in attack, but could not command a game because of the good form of big men Hamish McIntosh and Todd Goldstein.

He said the Roos were still trying to determine the make-up of their best attack.

"I don't have an answer for you in terms of our ideal structure because I'm still experimenting with it and trying to find out exactly the right mix," he said.

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