Scott: 'Are we mentally tough enough? No'
Watch North Melbourne coach Brad Scott's post-match press conference
North's Ryan Bastinac runs into a tackle from a Crows opponent
The question will be asked and should be asked, 'Are we mentally tough enough?' and the answer to that at the moment is a resounding no
NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott has savaged his team's lack of mental toughness after its heartbreaking one-point loss to Adelaide, vowing to weed out players who cannot develop a killer instinct.
North's loss to the Crows was its fourth by four points or fewer this season, following a four-point loss to Geelong in round two, three-point loss to Hawthorn in round five and two-point loss to West Coast in round eight.
Scott's message to his players after Sunday's match was simple.
"That the question will be asked and should be asked, 'Are we mentally tough enough?' and the answer to that at the moment is a resounding no," Scott said.
Just as concerning for Scott, North's 3-6 start to 2013 has been characterised by a tendency to let commanding leads slip.
The Roos led Geelong by 41 points late in the second quarter in round two, Port Adelaide by 33 points at the four-minute of the final quarter in round six before hanging on to win by 10 points, and the Crows by 39 points at the six-minute of the second quarter on Sunday.
After watching the Crows pile on the final five goals of Sunday's game, including three in the final four minutes, to win, Scott conceded his players were switching off after building match-winning leads.
But he said any North players who continued to do so would not get a game under him for much longer.
"(We) do the hard work, play the way we want to play to get to a certain position and then we think we've done enough and players start to go away from what we should be doing," Scott said.
"There were some absolutely glaring examples of that today and we're not tolerating it, we're not putting up with it.
"We'll adopt a Spartan approach if we have to and we'll hammer them and hammer them and hammer them until we see who can stand up and who can't.
"We will put them through tough situations repeatedly and see who stands up. Those who get dropped will drop themselves, those who retain their positions will retain their positions."
North's defensive pressure in the first quarter against the Crows was outstanding, as it laid 22 tackles inside its forward 50 and held the Crows to 1.2.
However, the Roos let the Crows open up their running game after quarter-time, with Adelaide piling on 17 goals in the final three quarters.
Scott said North's drop in intensity was a mental issue and had nothing to do with his players' fitness, which had improved "dramatically" over the past three years.
"We were just absolutely disgraceful at being able to stop them transitioning the ball from defence to attack and they continued to do it after quarter-time, right up until the final siren and we couldn't stop it," Scott said.
Scott said North forward Aaron Black was "fine" after landing awkwardly in a marking contest late in the third quarter despite leaving the ground briefly for treatment on his ankle.
Nick Bowen covers North Melbourne news for AFL.com.au. Folow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nick