Brett Ratten insists Alastair Clarkson would have been ‘proud’ of his North Melbourne side’s performance despite a heartbreaking defeat after the AFL club’s coach watched from afar after a shock call this week
Brett Ratten was unsure if Alastair Clarkson was watching, but knew his close friend would have been proud of his North Melbourne team.
After a tough week for the club, in which Clarkson stepped down as indefinite coach, the Kangaroos came awfully close to ending their losing streak.
But a dramatic last-minute rally offense handed Sydney’s Hayden McLean a free-kick and the game-winning goal in a three-point thriller.
“I don’t know if he (Clarkson) is watching or not, but he would have been very proud of the squad today,” interim coach Ratten said.
“They have been so resilient over a long period of time. They advanced a bit and their energy was good.
Brett Ratten has praised his North Melbourne side despite an eighth straight defeat
“To think it was 2.5 at a point or something at some point in the game and you think it might get ugly.
“But to find the resilience to keep snacking and never give up, it was quite a proud moment for us to watch and see how they did for the next three and a half quarters.”
Ratten hailed the impact of co-captain Jy Simpkin, Bailey Scott, Callum Coleman-Jones and Ben McKay, who all helped put North Melbourne within a kick of an upset victory.
They led by 16 points in the final period – having scored five straight goals after trailing 15 points late in the third – but conceded the game’s last three majors.
Ratten was also pleased with the performances of debutant George Wardlaw and fellow youngsters Harry Sheezel, Eddie Ford and Phoenix Spicer.
North Melbourne led in clearances (47-27) and were well ahead in the tackle tally (73-61).
“It’s been a big week, but their resilience to get up and perform at this level was really nice,” Ratten said.
The Kangaroos fell to a controversial three-point loss to the Swans on Saturday
Ratten said Alastair Clarkson would have been “proud” of his team’s performance
“When you think there are five who have played 10 games or less, that’s pretty exciting.
“Seeing how we handled it today was a real step forward.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t win, as that’s what you play football for, but we’re quite proud of how they handled it.”
Ratten is confident there are further improvements to come as North Melbourne, whose losing streak has reached eight matches, faces a huge challenge against Collingwood in round 11.
“There was disappointment, you could see it in their faces, but if you play it this way and make it a contest for the opposition, you’re going to win some and lose some,” Ratten said.
“We’re going to put ourselves in more winning positions if we can sustain that kind of football and give ourselves a chance.”