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We won’t underestimate the Roos: Jennings

Matt Burgan  May 17, 2017 4:52 PM

One thing about Brad Scott teams is that they really bring a hard edge to the contest, so we really need to be ready for that

GAME analyst and education coordinator Craig Jennings says North Melbourne’s 2-6 win/loss record is not true a reflection of its ability this season.

Speaking in the lead-up to Melbourne’s clash against the Kangaroos at the MCG on Sunday, Jennings said the Roos had produced some impressive performances this season and could’ve had at least five wins, having lost three games by a total of nine points.

The Kangas have dropped another three matches by a total of 127 points, resulting in an overall average losing margin of 22.66 points.

But Jennings said North Melbourne had been “a pretty hard team for opposition sides to play against this year” and would be again this round.

“One thing about Brad Scott teams is that they really bring a hard edge to the contest, so we really need to be ready for that,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“They took it right up to the reigning premiers, the Western Bulldogs, in round four and only lost by three points.

“North Melbourne win a lot of games when Jarrad Waite’s in the team – he’s played in 27 wins from 39 games for the Kangaroos – and he didn’t play last weekend, due to a one-match suspension.

“Last round didn’t turn out how North wanted, so with Waite back in the team, they’re a pretty dangerous combination with their height, and they’ve got a lot of big-bodied midfielders. So, our boys will really need to be on their game in that area.”

But Jennings said Melbourne would enter the clash with an emphasis on its own strengths, and added that the club wasn’t looking back on the fact it hasn’t defeated the Kangaroos since round 20, 2006.

“Goody (Simon Goodwin) talks about that a lot and we have a different team running out now each week than the last time we played North in round three [at Blundstone Arena] last year,” he said.

“The team we’ll put out this week will be a lot different to the ones that have been getting beaten by North Melbourne in the last 10 years.

“Even last year’s result has no relevance to the way the game’s going to be played this weekend. Last year was Roosy’s team and there has been the handover and Goody has certainly got his own style of play and his own brand.”

Reflecting on Melbourne’s start to the season – and its 41-point win over the Crows at Adelaide Oval last Saturday night – Jennings said there were plenty of positives for the side to build on.

“When you break our game down, our form over the whole season has been pretty good, but the reality is that we haven’t been able to maintain that over four quarters,” he said.

“In all of our losses, it’s been because of one quarter of football or a 15-minute patch that’s let us down. On the weekend, what you saw was a real will to win.

“The reality is – to beat Adelaide at home, when they’re on the rebound, after being five goals down and kicking nine in a row, was a really impressive result and it reflects well on the line coaches and the players getting the job done.

“With young teams – and it doesn’t matter which club it is – you’ll always have fluctuations in form. The thing about Goody is that he has very high standards, so there is an expectation in the way we prepare, train and play. The result of that will come out more and more in games.”