Must-win game for AFL's Kangaroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Must-win game for AFL's Kangaroos

Greg Buckle 26/08/2011 01:31:52 PM Comments (0)

Ninth on the AFL ladder with two rounds remaining, it's a simple equation for North Melbourne.

"It's do or die for us," North Melbourne's star midfielder Daniel Wells says.

North's challenge on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium is to kick a winning score against sixth-placed St Kilda's water-tight defence.

The Kangaroos know if they can get over the losing grand finalists of the past two seasons, they deserve to stay in top-eight contention.

"They've been in the finals for a while now and they're really experienced in these situations," Wells said.

"We're coming and trying to hold up our end of the bargain and play some really exciting footy.

"It's going to be tough. It always is against St Kilda.

"We are under no illusions about how hard it's going to be.

"The pressure's on and this is what you play for."

The Kangaroos have lost 10 of their past 13 matches against the Saints, although their nine-point loss in round 15 was a missed opportunity.

North held the Saints scoreless in the final term but managed only 1.4 themselves as the Saints triumphed 12.7 (79) to 10.10 (70).

"We were a bit disappointed with the way we played the first time," Wells said.

"Hopefully we learnt something from it.

"They're a pretty good team and they've had the wood over us for a while.

"It's a pretty big occasion for us.

"It's cut-throat at the moment. If we lose this we're definitely out of finals hopes.

"It's probably not the best position to be in coming towards the end of the season but we've still got a chance."

Wells dismissed speculation that St Kilda's star forward Nick Riewoldt was being hampered by a knee problem.

"He always seems to play well against us," Wells said.

"We're looking to him to come out and play another blinder. We're going to prepare that way anyway."

St Kilda have regained key forward Justin Koschitzke and defender Zac Dawson and dropped Steven Baker and Tom Lynch.

The Kangaroos are unchanged. Ruckman Hamish McIntosh, who is pushing for his first senior game of the year after recovering from foot surgery, is first emergency.

Adding to the Kangaroos' motivation, three-time club champion Brady Rawlings announced this week that 2011 would be his final season.

"He has been an absolute legend at our club. He will go down as one of the all-time greats," Wells said of the 30-year-old veteran of 243 games.

"Hopefully we've got a couple more games up our sleeve for him.

"The way he thinks about his footy and he can size things up pretty quickly and the way he plays his footy is a real testament to the North Melbourne culture."

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