How do you solve an AFL riddle like North Melbourne?
The Kangaroos have wins over the AFL’s top four in their locker this season but have losses that would make any coach cringe.
They didn’t turn up to play Collingwood in round five, Gold Coast at home in round seven and Adelaide last month before being pipped by lowly Brisbane three weeks ago.
And it happened again on Friday night, beaten by Carlton by 23 points.
For coach Brad Scott, the reason why they aren’t a top-four side is obvious.
“It’s precisely because of nights like this,” he said.
North Melbourne started sluggishly and finished abysmally.
After giving up four straight first-term goals to trail all evening, they rallied for a three-point three quarter time deficit.
Scott said he was confident his side would overrun the Blues but instead Carlton kicked six straight, Lachie Henderson bagging four of them, to end the contest.
Scott praised Carlton’s endeavour but said his quest for answers would start at home.
“You always look in the mirror first. Clearly there is something I’m not doing and I haven’t found it yet,” he said.
“I’m working extremely hard in finding out what it is.”
He said the attitude of his players bothered him the most.
“We just played safe footy… refused to take a risk, refused to take the game on.
“We know that when we play our best footy we’re doing that”
He said his side “sat back and just hoped” against sides below them on the ladder.
“We know when we play good sides, there’s no hoping, you expect they’ll play well and you’ve got to beat them and take it off them,” he said.
“We didn’t do it.”
The Kangaroos raised eyebrows well before the final scoreline, with Majak Daw a late inclusion for Ben Brown (finger).
It was Daw’s first AFL match since being charged with three counts of rape – which he denies – relating to an alleged sexual assault in 2007.
With injuries to Brown and fellow forward options Daniel Currie, Robbie Tarrant and Nathan Grima, Scott suggested the club turned to Daw as “we didn’t have any other key position players”.
“I thought Majak, particularly given his personal circumstances, played pretty well tonight.”