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Kangaroos hoping Magpies a good teacher

Sam Lienert 16/07/2011 11:50:46 AM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott believes Sunday's AFL clash with the Western Bulldogs will be an early indicator of whether last round's horror loss to Collingwood was the learning experience he hopes.

The record 117-point flogging left his players devastated and shell-shocked, but Scott said it was also as good a lesson as they could get on where they need to improve to compete with the league's best clubs.

"As bitter a pill as it is to swallow, that's the truth," Scott said.

He said effort was not the issue against the Magpies, but players were heavily punished for some basic mistakes.

"We are getting horribly exposed by the really good sides at the moment and they are fundamental issues," Scott said.

With the Bulldogs in good form, having won their past four games, Scott believes the Dogs will also exact a heavy toll if the Kangaroos do not show improvement in some of those areas at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

"They are so good offensively and if they're allowed to play their way they're as devastating as any football side in the competition," he said.

"Form can fluctuate from time to time, but one thing the Bulldogs have is some really good damaging players.

"When Adam Cooney and Ryan Griffen and (Matthew) Boyd and (Daniel) Giansiracusa are going through the midfield, they can be as damaging as any side in the competition.

"We'll get a good gauge of how many lessons we've taken out of last week and if we've improved at all on the things we've worked on."

The Bulldogs are unchanged after last round's impressive win over Carlton, while the Kangaroos made three changes, including dropping forward Lindsay Thomas, due to his growing mental block when kicking for goal.

They lost youngster Shaun Atley to a knee injury, but captain Brent Harvey is expected to play despite a thumb fracture.

Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade knows from the experience of his own side's nightmare 123-point loss to West Coast in round nine, the sort of fierce resolve he can expect from the Roos on the rebound.

"You make a stand the next week. Every team in that situation does," Eade said.

"I think it was a bit of an aberration for them, because their form's been pretty good actually, even their losses have been close, so we're expecting a pretty tough, physical game."

He said the Dogs could not afford any slip-ups, with their slow start to the season leaving them with a long climb back into finals contention, despite their good recent form.

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