North confident bye is a help - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North confident bye is a help

By Guy Hand 14/04/2011 06:59:59 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne are hoping to become mythbusters against Fremantle on Sunday as they test two popular AFL theories of doom.

The Kangaroos will be the latest guinea pigs for both the effect of the competition bye, as well as a Victorian club making two trips in a month to Perth.

So far the bye has been a disaster for both Gold Coast and Adelaide.

And trips to Perth have invariably been followed by a drop-off in form the following week, as the Kangaroos proved when they were thumped by Collingwood a fortnight ago coming off a round one loss to West Coast at Patersons Stadium.

But North coach Brad Scott believes the bye may have actually been the right thing at the right time for the Kangaroos.

It has allowed them an extra week to work on fundamentals to help address their 0-2 start to the season.

"We probably thought the bye in round three was less than ideal - to have the bye so soon after the season started," Scott said.

"But in actual fact, after that round two performance, we clearly had a lot of things to work on and the last two weeks has given us an opportunity to train pretty hard and work on rectifying some of those deficiencies.

"(Going to Perth) we don't really see as an issue. If anything, having the two games in Perth out of the way early could be looked at as a good thing."

Far more challenging, says Scott, is how to combat Fremantle ruck giant Aaron Sandilands.

Scott has included inexperienced ruckman Cameron Pedersen in an expanded 25-man squad to back up Todd Goldstein, but admits he had not found any magic bullet to blunt Sandilands' effectiveness.

"There's no bigger ruck challenge in the game than Aaron Sandilands - he's a terrific player," Scott said.

"I've watched him play for a long period of time and I haven't seen a formula that works consistently against him.

"He's a very dominant player."

Otherwise Scott is set to keep faith with the players thumped by Collingwood a fortnight ago, with the entire 22 from that game named in the widened squad.

Scott also said skipper Brent Harvey's public criticism of young players Lachie Hansen and Sam Wright following the Collingwood defeat had caused "no repercussions" among the team.

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