North Melbourne coach David Noble warns players of consequences after dismal loss to Western Bulldogs

The West Australian
VideoAFL: Bulldogs forward Josh Bruce scored an incredible 10 goals against North Melbourne on Good Friday in what turned out to be the Western Bulldogs' biggest ever win.

North Melbourne coach David Noble has issued a stern warning to his players — there will be consequences for players who don’t shape up.

The statement came moments after the club’s dismal 128-point drubbing at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs piled on 20 of the last 22 goals of the Good Friday game at Marvel Stadium, with the Kangaroos conceding 10 in the final quarter alone.

North entered the season widely tipped to finish towards the bottom of the ladder, with Noble taking over as coach during the biggest rebuild in the club’s history.

He was told by North hierarchy he had “two to three years” to turn the club around from cellar-dweller to a top four contender when appointed.

Jack Ziebell and his Kangaroos team mates look dejected after losing the round 3 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on April 02, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images via AFL Photos)
Camera IconJack Ziebell and his Kangaroos team mates look dejected after losing the round 3 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on April 02, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images via AFL Photos) Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos, Quinn Rooney

“We have to come to play every single week. We can’t be inconsistent for our fans. We can’t be inconsistent to ourselves and pick and choose when we want to come and play,” Noble said.

“I’m annoyed. I want to win. As I said last week, I am not here just to have 12 months of development, so the expectation is if you are playing this level of footy you come to play every week.

“And if you don’t come, that comes with consequences either in selection or at the end of the year.”

North Melbourne were brutal with their list management at the end of a tough 2020 season, cutting a quarter of its squad.

After a competitive, albeit heavy, loss to premiership fancies Port Adelaide in round one, the Kangaroos have since been dismal in defeats to Gold Coast and the Bulldogs.

Josh Walker looks dejected as he leaves the field.
Camera IconJosh Walker looks dejected as he leaves the field. Credit: Quinn Rooney/AFL Photos

Noble, who was previously Brisbane’s football manager, believes Kangaroos supporters can take heart from the Lions, who won just 10 games combined in 2017 and 2018 before then surging up the ladder.

“We’re on a journey, we understand there’s hiccups along the way, and today’s a bigger one than maybe what we’ve had,” Noble said.

“When you play such a well-drilled team, it becomes overwhelming. For a younger group that we’ve got, that’s a real challenge to retain that energy and effort and around the ball.

“Hence you end up with something in that last quarter that is unpalatable, but is understandable.

“The turnovers (resulting in the Bulldogs scoring more than 100 points) really hurt us today.

“I know the result doesn’t look great but we have to really maintain that calmness about how we go about our business.”

Club legend Brent Harvey and Kangaroos head coach David Noble walk off the field after the hefty loss.
Camera IconClub legend Brent Harvey and Kangaroos head coach David Noble walk off the field after the hefty loss. Credit: Quinn Rooney/AFL Photos

Bulldog Josh Bruce kicked a remarkable 10 goals in the massive win, becoming just the sixth current AFL player to achieve the feat.

The result is extra deflating for the Kangaroos, who were determined to put in a competitive showing after their place in the Good Friday timeslot was questioned.

Noble conceded a blowout performance could hurt the club’s chances of retaining the fixture, but reiterated that the AFL should look at switching all marquee matches if the Kangaroos’ place comes into question.

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