George Wardlaw in action during North Melbourne's clash against Essendon in round 12, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

FOR NORTH Melbourne caretaker coach Brett Ratten, the glass, seemingly, is half full.

The club's 28-point loss to Greater Western Sydney on Sunday was its 11th in a row and the fourth under Ratten since he took over after Alastair Clarkson stepped away indefinitely for mental health reasons.

But the average margin in the past month is just 18 points, a far cry from heavier defeats earlier in the season.

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The Kangaroos' first-round draft picks George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezel have impressed, the former picking up his first career goal and a game-high nine tackles against GWS.


"No doubt there are aspects where you go, 'Gee that is fantastic', and (you're) watching some of the players keep growing in front of your eyes," Ratten said.

"There are some good moments and there are some you think 'We've got to do a bit better there'.

"They're young men, they're kids that (are) really developing into good AFL players. Not great yet, but good. They're exciting."


Ratten found an ally in GWS coach Adam Kingsley, who said the Kangaroos were a better side than their second-last spot on the ladder suggested.

North Melbourne had the better of field position in the first quarter but were down by 11 at the break, before cutting the margin to five at half-time.

"I think we're getting about 100 (minutes) right and we're getting about 20 wrong. And the 20 wrong hurts us a bit at the moment," Ratten said.


"We had the chance to really put GWS under serious scoreboard pressure but we couldn't capitalise.

"The inside 50 count (early on) was about 16-7 but there was a goal in it ... we should be three, four goals in front and putting the opposition under enormous pressure and we didn't do that."

The Kangaroos face the Western Bulldogs next round before their bye in round 15.

Ratten, who previously indicated the club wouldn't rush Clarkson's return, said co-captain Jy Simpkin and experienced midfielder Hugh Greenwood would play next week.