North Melbourne coach Brad Scott is set to swing the axe after his side opened their AFL campaign with a 43-point loss to West Coast.
The new-look Kangaroos started strongly and led at quarter time but faded badly in the second half as the Eagles cruised to a 21.10 (136) to 13.15 (93) victory at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
There were positive signs for a Kangaroos side which included four first-gamers, as well as two club debutants in Nathan Hrovat and Marley Williams.
North’s speed and pressure around the contest was a highlight of their play during the first half, with Shaun Higgins (25 touches, 11 clearances) particularly impressive.
But all too often the Eagles were able to punish the Kangaroos in transition, with Josh Kennedy (seven majors) and Mark LeCras (four) feasting on their opportunities.
North will be left to rue their inaccuracy in front of goal, with veteran Jarrad Waite (one goal, seven behinds) the worst culprit.
“It’s too simplistic to say ‘gee, if we kicked straight we would have won’ because I don’t believe that’s the case,” Scott said.
“But it would have made the game a lot more competitive.
“I didn’t think as a defensive group we covered ourselves in glory today. By our own admission, we were very poor. You always want pressure up-field but it’s no excuse to our defensive half today.”
Scott said Jy Simpkin, Declan Mountford, Mitchell Hibberd and Braydon Preuss had all been solid in their first taste of senior footy.
But with North firmly in the midst of a rebuild, the eighth-year coach is keen to blood as many youngsters as possible
“There are a number of other guys who didn’t get opportunities today that we’d like to get into the side too,” he said.
“I suspect we’re going to be a team that’s going to make changes on a pretty regular basis.”
Second-year midfielder Ryan Clarke and the untested Ed Vickers-Willis and Sam Durdin are likely to be in the mix to face Geelong next week.
Majak Daw may also be considered, with dangerous big man Mason Wood still several weeks off returning from a hamstring injury.