Watch North Melbourne coach Brad Scott's post-match press conference
Roo Daniel wells was a clear best-on-ground in Sunday's loss to Hawthorn
NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott says there is a very specific reason why the Kangaroos have won just one game despite being competitive against the season's contenders in each of its four losses.
Whether it's poise going inside 50 – as once again proved critical – or a more intangible factor such as belief, Scott was not prepared to reveal the reason publicly post-game.
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"We can sit here and talk about myths and about luck and all those sorts of things but the fact is we're one win, four losses and had an opportunity to win all of those games," Scott said.
"We're not delusional. We're not kidding ourselves. There is a very specific reason as to why we're not 5-0 – we're 1-4. We're clear as to what those things are and we're not prepared to divulge those things in the public forum but we're very clear and we've just got to keep working but the fundamentals are very sound."
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North Melbourne has become like a group two horse running places in group one battles week after week.
It faces a confident and unbeaten Port Adelaide in Hobart next Saturday.
That's not much solace for the coach who knows it's win-only tickets that pay in the AFL.
Against Hawthorn on Sunday, North Melbourne had more disposals (350-330), more contested possessions (149-126), more inside 50s (63-47), more clearances (44-25) and more scoring shots (31-29) yet lost by three points.
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It would have gutted the ultra competitive Scott as the team played with spirit and application but once again fell short.
"The players have great faith and great trust in what we are doing," Scott said. "That was pretty evident tonight against a really good football side so I don't think morale is going to be an issue at all but we have to make sure we keep the boys up because it is a very fine line this game."
Scott can see the team moulding and knows that the underrated Daniel Wells – who was by far the best player on the ground – and experienced Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito and, when he returns from suspension, Brent Harvey will be leaving behind a good football side when father time taps them on the shoulder.
But he also knows there are deficiencies keeping the current part of the climb steep and sometimes rocky.Click here to vote for the three best North Melbourne players from the match
The forward structure against the Hawks provides a perfect example of the fine line teams such as North Melbourne tread.
The loss of Lachlan Hansen pre-game to a slight medial strain brought in the promising Aaron Black, who looked good after half-time, kicking two exciting goals and winning praise from the coach.
"He is a real footballer's footballer so he understands the game and he gets into really dangerous positions," Scott said.
But his inclusion also meant Petrie was working alongside tall forwards with six senior games experience between them.
That meant Majak Daw – whose exciting chase down of Shaun Burgoyne was another to add to the highlight reel – and Black sometimes crowded Petrie's space and the forward line did not function as it may have if the trio had been playing alongside each other for longer.
Scott, as always, dealt with the reality, knowing that competing provided lessons that would stand them in good stead soon enough.
"We learn a lot about our boys each week that we do that but we are growing really quickly as a footy side so 'bring it on'. We are looking forward to it," Scott said.