REIGNING North Melbourne club champion Luke McDonald is facing another stint on the sidelines after lasting less than a quarter of his senior return during the Roos' fadeout loss to Adelaide.

McDonald left the field with an injured right pectoral after attempting a tackle late in the first term of the 41-point defeat against the Crows.

Teammate Cam Zurhaar will also miss North's round five clash with Geelong at GMHBA Stadium next Sunday after suffering concussion just moments after McDonald's injury.


Kangaroos coach David Noble said scans would determine how long McDonald would miss, having just returned after recovering from a pre-season quad complaint.

"Not sure about Luke's (injury), what the severity of it looks like. Pecs are never great from that side of things, so that's what it looks like it is. We probably won't know the severity of it until we get a scan," he said.

"They're a bit of an unusual one but they can sometimes be a bit nasty, so we'll just have to wait and see."

07:34 Mins
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Highlights: North Melbourne v Adelaide

The Kangaroos and Crows clash in round four

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While disappointed with his team's final quarter fadeout, North Melbourne coach David Noble took plenty of positives away from the clash.

ROOS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

"The way we controlled the game for a lot of the portions … our fans and sponsors could walk away from the game with a vision of what we want to do," Noble said.

"Some of the young guys and the jobs we asked them to do and the manner they went about it was really good and we want to play the way we did today, each week."

Noble expected Josh Walker (hamstring soreness) to return for the clash with the Cats, and is hopeful of having experienced midfielder Trent Dumont play in the VFL on the same weekend.

09:11 Mins
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Noble: 'Very encouraging, but still a bit to learn'

David Noble was pleased his side 'played in the manner' he expects, but concedes they still have many elements to improve

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Meanwhile, Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks was adamant his side's fast start to the season won't alter expectations after the club made it three wins from four games this year, matching its tally for the entire 2020 season.

It means the Crows will finish the round just outside the top four and only percentage behind their biggest rival, Port Adelaide, as expectations continue to rise for Nicks' young side.

But Nicks said his message remains the same, despite the rapid turnaround in fortunes.

"Our expectation was to compete and play a brand of footy that people liked watching and our members and supporters want to come to Adelaide Oval to watch us play," Nicks said after the victory.

"We want to walk off the ground and be proud of the effort we have put out there.

"We have got the results over this first month and that is the reward you get when you play a certain style, but there is no change in expectation.

"We will continue to work on our game and we have got so much work still left to do … we are a young group and with that there comes a challenge for consistency."

10:27 Mins
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Nicks: 'Huge for our young group, they believe in themselves'

Matthew Nicks believes winning on the road will do wonders for his young side, who continue to build the belief they can compete with the best

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The Crows looked to be in trouble when they trailed North Melbourne by four points at three-quarter time on Sunday, but an eight-goal-to-one final term ensured a happy ending to the round four clash.

"I am really proud of our group to finish the way they did," Nicks added.

"We were confident that if we were within striking distance at three-quarter time that we had the legs.

"We have shown a couple of weeks in a row now that we have done the work during the pre-season and the guys are fit and can run games out.

Nicks singled out a host of his players for special mention, with stand-in captain Tom Doedee and experienced midfielder Rory Laird among those praised for the leading the way in the final quarter.

The Adelaide coach was also impressed with the efforts of Darcy Fogarty, with the 21-year-old booting three goals in an eye-catching first senior game of the season.