A "STRONG talk" with the midfield group helped kickstart Brisbane's charge home against North Melbourne on Saturday evening.

The Lions eventually won the rain-affected struggle by 23 points, but went into the main break two points adrift of the team occupying last spot on the ladder.

"We had a strong talk as to where we were at and the fact that we hadn't done as well in clearances as we needed to, particularly in centre bounce," coach Chris Fagan said.

"I think we might have been in front, but we weren't really getting any meterage from those clearances. We needed to go to work on that.

"Sometimes the players need a bit of a wake-up – we've just had a couple of weeks off, and that can be a little bit challenging at times.

"It was a good game tonight, I reckon, just to prepare us. We have to play again pretty soon on Thursday night against Geelong, that's going to be a tough test."

05:29 Mins
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Fagan: 'A tough, dour, struggle'

Chris Fagan says he had 'a strong talk' with his playing group at half-time after claiming his players needed to 'wake up'

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It was a game Fagan described as "a tough, dour struggle", with steady drizzle exacerbating the already slippery turf.

"All games are worth four points, so it's good to come through that sort of test today," Fagan said.

"The expectation at half-time, and again at three-quarter time, I said to our players, 'These guys will try to take the game on and come through the corridor, we just need to really defend that as well as we can'.

"I think they wanted to, but after half-time, I think we defended that part of the ground really well. Not so much in the first half, but definitely very well in the second half."

ROOS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

North Melbourne coach David Noble is confident his young, rebuilding side is improving in spite of its 1-11-1 record.

"We're moving forward, there's no doubt. If you look at our last couple of weeks, six of our last eight quarters are in the direction that we want to take. Our fans can really see that direction we're taking," Noble said.

"The last quarter against an experienced side like Brissie is tough, the contested ball and clearances, they're not sitting up the ladder for no good reason.

"'Fages' is a good coach, they're a well-drilled team. [We were] in front halfway through the third quarter and probably can't at this stage sustain the effort that was needed."

12:57 Mins
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Noble: 'We're moving forward, no doubt'

David Noble says his fans should be excited with the direction the club is heading after displaying promise against the heavyweights of the competition

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Noble said the Roos tried a few new moves as they look to shape the team for the future, with returning defender Luke McDonald (pectoral injury) trialled on the wing to help build versatility.

He was asked about the performance of Jaidyn Stephenson, who kicked one goal from his 10 touches but struggled to have an impact in the second half.

"(James) Madden's a really disciplined defender and has got the speed to go through with 'Stevo' as well. If Stevo had got on the board again with another goal, then he's probably done his job," Noble said.

"But there were some times within the game – and he wasn't on his own – where he probably could've worked a little bit harder at times.

"Sometimes as a forward, when you're playing in that high role, you get a little bit on the opposite side on where the ball's coming in, and on a slippery night like that, the ball can get jammed on one side. We did bring him up around the stoppages in the last quarter to get some run back towards goal, but it was a quiet night for his standards."