‘Stinging’ criticism set to spark Roos
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has defended the club's identity in the wake of stinging criticism from Kangaroos great David King, as he sets the focus on addressing a major centre-bounce problem against Port Adelaide.
In his Herald Sun column this week, two-time premiership player King questioned whether the "unifying" Shinboner spirit that had long been associated with North Melbourne had been lost under Scott's tenure, which begun in 2010.
"It certainly stings when it's one of your own saying that," Scott said of King's comments.
"But we've been in some really challenging situations over a long period of time.
"(The club's) been built through adversity. So when we are doing it tough, there's only one way this club responds and that is to double-down our effort, double-down on our work ethic and focus what's right in front of us and fight our way through.
"We're not displaying what we want to show our fans at the moment but, rest assured, we're doing everything we can to turn it around."
Scott said while it seemed an "eternity ago", the Kangaroos needed only to rediscover their Round 4 form when they beat Adelaide by 12 points as they look to improve on a 1-4 start to the season.
"It was only two weeks ago that the way we wanted to play was very clear for all to see," he said.
Addressing a woeful defensive record from centre-bounce has been identified as a key focus, with the Kangaroos conceding 130 of the 510 points that have been kicked against them this season from centre-bounce.
"The reality is the second-worst team at defending centre bounces is conceding less than half the amount of scores that we are," Scott said.
"In a season where we've been in games and lost some games that we felt we were right in, that's just making an incredible difference to the way that we're playing."
Scott said captain Jack Ziebell would play a "combination of midfield and forward" against the Power, after he recorded only six touches against Essendon on Good Friday playing predominantly in attack.
Scott urged former Port Adelaide pair Jared Polec and Jasper Pittard to channel Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield as they prepare for a return to Adelaide Oval after off-season moves, with a "warm welcome" expected.
"While Patrick Dangerfield is a rare player, he appears to thrive when he goes back and plays in Adelaide when he plays with Geelong," Scott said.
"So we'll just be getting Jasper and Jared to make sure they're focused on what's important for us."