IT WAS a ‘bit of Shinboner guts' that saw North Melbourne home by five points over Melbourne in Hobart on Saturday afternoon, despite a performance Rhyce Shaw admitted wasn't particularly impressive.
The Roos found a way to win having performed below their best at their southern home, but rather than dwell on the result, Shaw was keen to focus on the excitement he feels ahead of his first off-season as senior coach at Arden Street and the boundless potential he sees at the club.
"If we have a good pre-season and really train ourselves hard in both mental and physical areas, I think we can go wherever we want to go," he said.
"I make no bones about it, we want to lift our expectation of where we want to go.
"We've played some good footy against good teams and it's important to find consistency in that, (so) the outliers aren't the great wins, they're actually the losses. I think that's really important."
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A resurgence in form following Shaw's appointment as caretaker coach following Brad Scott's departure from the club in May had put the potential for finals footy in the frame briefly, however, the Roos weren't able to mount a sustained run at the top eight.
Shaw lamented the reality of a 10-12 record for the season before reiterating his optimism for the North Melbourne Football Club's prospects.
"It's never a great feeling going into the last couple of games knowing you've got really not much to play for, but we're really excited about the opportunity we've got now and I think the guys have really got a taste of what it's like to play really good football against good teams.
"We're looking forward to having a really good pre-season and heading into next year with really clear direction and knowing where we want to go, and the common purpose is really important."
The challenge of leading his club into the all-important trade period and pre-season is one Shaw is keen to tackle head-on as key role player in moulding the club's future direction.
"It's going to be exciting," he said.
"I've been put in this position, 12 weeks now in terms of coaching the team, and my full energies have been put into the players and coaching staff and where we want to go in terms of our footy and how we want to play.
"Now it turns to the direction of the club and making sure we're all in sync with were we want to go both on and off the field.
"I hope everyone understands it's an exciting time for North Melbourne. It's not just the players, it's the club.
"I'm really excited about the next couple of months and shaping where we're going."