NORTH Melbourne has beaten three of the top four teams this season but the Kangaroos still have more "upside in us than downside" as finals approach, coach Brad Scott believes.
Scott was "really pleased" with his side's 50-point triumph over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, a victory built on two intense bursts of four unanswered goals to start the first and third quarters.
The Roos held off the never-say-die Dogs, who charged to within eight points nearing half-time, and are now in a nearly impregnable finals position and in the box seat to host an elimination final.
"I was really pleased with that game today," he said post-match. "A lot of the things we've been working on we executed really well, particularly early.
"We put ourselves and the Bulldogs put us under a lot of pressure in the second quarter.
"They were very good and we invited the pressure a little bit.
"But after half-time we adjusted that and responded really well.
"In some of our losses this year we haven't been able to respond to things that have happened in-game."
North supporters would have been especially heartened by the cohesion shown by the Roos' tall forwards.
Drew Petrie, Ben Brown and Aaron Black combined for six goals, 49 possessions and 21 marks in a confidence-building display.
"I said a couple of weeks ago, I think there's a lot more upside in us than downside," Scott said.
"Ben Brown, I think was really good again today, and Petrie is looking really good, and even when most people would say he's struggling we rate him really highly for the stuff he does off the ball – but he needs some support.
"And Black is starting to look a lot better; the combination's looking better."
For the first time this season, the Roos had its first-choice midfield of Andrew Swallow, Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell and Daniel Wells on the park together.
Wells got through unscathed in his first match since round five, impressing with his touch as he gathered 18 possessions – including nine contested.
"He probably exceeded my expectations in his ability to run out the game," Scott said.
"What really encouraged us was his efforts in the midfield in the last quarter.
"He had every reason to be tired and fatigued but he actually got us going in the midfield, so it's great to have him back."
Ziebell was seen with a bandage on his knee post-match, however Scott said the tough midfielder only suffered "a tweak" of an injury that kept him sidelined for three games this season.
The sixth-placed Roos can lock-in a finals berth and all but ensure the right to host an elimination final if they beat Adelaide in Hobart next Saturday.