A disconsolate Jack Ziebell after the elimination final loss to West Coast
NORTH Melbourne vice-captain Jack Ziebell insists his team carries no mental scars from its elimination final loss to West Coast this year, saying the 96-point thumping had been a useful pre-season motivational tool for Roos players.
Ziebell conceded it had been disappointing to lose so badly to the Eagles after three seasons out of the finals, but said overall it had been a positive experience.
"For me personally and I think most of the group … it provides a lot of motivation for this pre-season," he said.
"And I think if we get that chance again then hopefully we can perform a lot better.
"We understand where we've got to improve. We go out there with a clear goal and hopefully week in week out, day in day out, and session by session, we can keep doing that and keep improving as individuals and as a team as well."
Ziebell was confident the elimination final loss had not shaken the belief of any North players, but had been a timely reminder of where, and how much, they had to improve.
"We've got a lot of work to do and everyone in the competition this year is going to have to do a lot more work to try and make the top four and play finals," he said.
"I think that the boys are really excited to get back into pre-season.
"I think we had over half our side [making their finals debuts] that game. Put the result aside it was a really good experience and one that I think we can all benefit from."
Ziebell was speaking at Aegis Park, where together with Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle he helped lay the final pieces of turf in the redevelopment of North's Arden Street training ground.
The Roos' former home ground has been extended into the dimensions of its present home ground, Etihad Stadium, and Ziebell said its significantly increased playing surface would bring fitness and tactical gains.
"Compared to the old football oval we had here the size is much bigger obviously … and it's going to allow us to run I think at least 2km more a session in main skills," he said.
"And when you think about that it's going to be huge in our fitness gains."
Ziebell said that previously Arden Street Oval had become noticeably more crowded than the MCG or Etihad Stadium when North ran match practice with 36 players on the field, which had compromised its ability to trial certain tactics.
"So to have [the bigger oval] and to be able to use that every day, day in day out, is … going to really help us," he said.
Nick Bowen covers North Melbourne news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nick