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The unwanted stat that is an area of “grave concern” for the Kangaroos


The early-season positivity surrounding North Melbourne took a major hit in Gather Round.

The Kangaroos were smashed by Brisbane to the tune of 70 points at Norwood Oval on Friday which was their second successive defeat by 50 or more.

It was also a fourth straight conceded score of 100 or more which has placed Alastair Clarkson’s game style under the spotlight.

Champion Data’s Daniel Hoyne has painted an alarming picture relating to North’s defensive profile, highlighting an unwanted stat that is resulting in opposition sides scoring with apparent ease.

He describes it as an “aspect of grave concern” for Clarkson and the Roos.

“North Melbourne are 18th in terms of what they’re doing without the footy,” Hoyne said on SEN’s Sportsday.

“It’s great that you’re able to sit down and see a clear brand and a clear style. But is it the right thing to do with this group that’s so young? Is it the right way for development?

“Their defensive profile is actually getting worse.

“There is no team easier to turn possession into a score against. They’re the second easiest team to move the ball against, they’ve got the second worst D50 in the competition.

“This is the aspect of grave concern to me at the moment - they want to play this aggressive game, but when they turn the ball over they are the easiest team to punish on turnover.

“We haven’t seen an easier team to score against off turnover in eight years.

“So do they rein it in? Or is this just what they believe in and what they’re wedded to? Is this how they’re going to continue for the rest of the season?

“At the moment it just seems a little bit out of whack.”

Hoyne asked former players Gerard Healy and Kane Cornes if they would be looking to change the way the Roos play.

Brownlow Medallist Healy points to North’s scores of 82, 76 and 81 prior to the Lions loss which suggests that at least they’re giving their fans some sort of joy.

“If I’m a North supporter I like what I’m seeing,” Healy replied.

“I remember what Robert Walls said when he was coaching the Bears, ‘At least people went away and we kicked a few goals’.

“But ultimately, if you can’t defend you can’t win flags, so it’s something that ‘Clarko’ is going to have to address.”

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300-gamer Cornes doesn’t believe it would be simple to flick a switch from what Clarkson is attempting to do with his attacking style to simply fold back into a defensive approach.

“They only kicked 42 points on the weekend, it was rough,” he said.

“They’re all-in on it, that’s the hardest part.

“It’s about as bad a back six as we’ve seen in the last 20 years, so he’s failing to protect the back six which is vulnerable.

“How to unwind that is going to be difficult for them to do. It’s going to take little tweaks and they’ll have to do that throughout the season, but I don’t think they can completely back away form it.

“It’s too hard to do mid-season.”

Hoyne concluded: “This sounds harsh but it might actually get worse.

“They’re scoreboard return has been a bit inflated through ridiculous accuracy.

“We talk about what they’re doing without the footy, but in terms of what they’re doing with the ball; there’s no worse team in the competition at turning possession into a score themselves.”

The Roos sit 17th on the ladder with a 0-4 record ahead of their next test which comes against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium win Sunday.

Sportsday North Melbourne

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