A HALF-TIME spray from North Melbourne leader Nick Dal Santo was one of the reasons behind the club’s dominant third-quarter comeback against the Bombers, according to defender Sam Wright.
The Kangaroos kicked just two opening-half goals to trail by 27 points at half-time in Saturday night’s elimination final, before booting seven goals in the third quarter to turn the match on its head.
Wright said the leadership of Dal Santo on the ground after the half-time siren was pivotal in their comeback.
"Well Nick Dal Santo brought us in on the ground together and pretty much just drew a line in the sand," Wright told Crocmedia’s Sportsday program.
"He pretty much just said, ‘this is enough, boys, this is a final … we’re not going to get another chance, it’s now or never’.
"(He then) followed with a couple of instructions of how we play our best footy, and I really found that helped because it put forward in our heads before we even got into the rooms.
"And to our surprise Scotty was really cool, calm and collected and really positive and just reinforced that if we play the way that we train and do all the little things and simple things well we can definitely get back into the game.
Wright said the players also knew that Essendon had a history this season of struggling towards the end of matches.
"We also talked about how our second halves have been and I guess the history for Essendon and their last quarters … if we really grind them down we’re a good chance," Wright said.
Wright said Dal Santo’s leadership since arriving at the club as a free agent had been superb this season.
"His leadership has been magnificent really on and off the field and I think that’s the other dimension he brings, and he has played in a hell of a lot of finals so that experience was invaluable."