North Melbourne are under pressure after falling to the bottom of the ladder. Picture: Getty Images
North Melbourne are under pressure after falling to the bottom of the ladder. Picture: Getty Images

Kangas call crisis meeting after huge loss

NORTH Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley called a meeting of the club's on and off-field leaders to reverse the embarrassing 1-4 start to the season that has sent the Kangaroos to the bottom of the ladder.

Buckley met with coach Brad Scott, captain Jack Ziebell, chief executive Carl Dilena and head of football Cam Joyce at the weekend as a response to Good Friday's 58-point thrashing at the hands of Essendon.

The meeting - said to be a lengthy one - resolved to "leave no stone unturned" in delivering a swift turnaround, starting on Friday night against Port Adelaide.

"I've spoken to the leaders of the club … after the (Good Friday) game, as you would expect me to do," Buckley said.

"Our fans are frustrated, our members are frustrated, and we are frustrated.

"My message is … when we play a certain way, we are as capable and as competitive as most teams in the competition.

"We have to work tirelessly to find the reasons why that is not happening, and rectify that."

Scott Thompson, Robbie Tarrant, Paul Ahern and Mason Wood after the Kangaroos’ big loss to Essendon. Picture: AAP
Scott Thompson, Robbie Tarrant, Paul Ahern and Mason Wood after the Kangaroos’ big loss to Essendon. Picture: AAP

Buckley said those at the meeting:

- Backed under scrutiny coach Scott to find a solution to the current situation;

- Called on the players to rediscover that famous "Shinboner" spirit, while acknowledging they are "hurting";

- Said he could understood the frustration of restless supporters;

- Insisted the club was almost in the best financial shape it has ever been off the field, but conceded that needed to translate into on-field success.

Buckley would not be drawn on Scott's position - he is contracted until the end of 2020 - other than to say he has a history of getting the best out of his players.

"Brad has proven he is a very, very capable coach and can produce teams that can be as competitive as anyone in the competition," he said.

"The coach is an integral part, but he is only one person. We have to be unified in our approach to turn things around.

"(As a club) we support our players, we support our coaches, we support our staff and we support everyone in the organisation."

Roos chairman Ben Buckley is backing coach Brad Scott to turn the club’s season around. Picture: Michael Klein
Roos chairman Ben Buckley is backing coach Brad Scott to turn the club’s season around. Picture: Michael Klein

Scott, one of the AFL's most influential coaches, has consistently said he would only stay at the Kangaroos for as long as he is the best fit as coach.

Before signing a contract in late 2017, Scott said: "I'm trying to set an example for our players that we really want to build a really solid foundation for our club and we've got to do what's right for the football club - and that includes me.

"So if that means that I'm the best person to coach the club going forward then that's what will happen. But if the club decides 'hey look we think we can do better' then that's what should happen."

Buckley said the players had to take their share of responsibility for the sub-par performances this year.

"There is a strong onus on the players to go out and execute to the standards and the game plan that has been agreed upon," he said.

"I know they are hurting, and I know they will work tirelessly to respond.

"We have created a brand over the last multiple decades, and in recent years we have shown the values of the 'Shinboner spirit' can be displayed when we play with that competitiveness and intensity.

"We acknowledge we are not delivering on that consistently at the moment and we have to get our way back to that."

News Corp Australia


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