The first month of David Noble’s senior coaching career hasn’t gone at all to plan.
A final quarter capitulation against Adelaide saw his Kangaroos record a 16.13 (109) – 10.8 (68) loss in round four.
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North is now the only AFL side yet to notch a win after four rounds, and it’s not the first season in recent memory the side has slumped to such a poor start.
In fact, 2021 is the third time since 2011 the Shinboners have begun a season with four consecutive losses.
The Kangaroo have been outscored 491 – 211 by their opponents across the first four weeks of the year for a dismal percentage of 43.
North Melbourne came into Saturday afternoon’s game with a point to prove.
The side struggled in its first three weeks, conceding its highest number of points across the opening three rounds since 2001.
Most devastatingly, the Western Bulldogs handed North its fourth biggest loss ever in round three. Josh Bruce slotted ten as the Doggies cruised to a 128 point win.
“It was a great learning week for us,” Noble told Fox Footy before his side’s round four fixture.
“You’ve got to be able to review those circumstances out of the game and find some reasons why (they happened).
“Then you’ve got to get back on the training track, train hard and then come out and deliver another performance.”
The Crows were in full flight early in Sunday afternoon’s game, with Tex Walker taking less than four minutes to kick the game’s opening two goals.
“Josh Bruce’s 10 against North suddenly looks under par,” joked footy journalist James Mottershead on Twitter.
The Kangas were able to score two goals of their own, but still went to the break on the wrong side of a 5.2 (32) – 2.2 (14) scoreline.
A head knock to Cam Zurhaar and a pec injury to Luke McDonald added to North’s woes, with neither returning to the field.
“North Melbourne absolutely savaged by injuries. If (McDonald) needs surgery for his pectoral muscle injury it could be months on the sidelines,” tweeted journalist Jon Ralph.
Noble’s men managed to control the ball better in the second term, earning the bulk of inside 50s. Poor accuracy from set shots early kept the lead out of reach, though, with the Crows up 8.6 (54) – 6.3 (39) at the main break.
Tarryn Thompson bagged two in the third to wrestle the lead out of the Crows’ hands, gifting his side a 9.7 (61) – 8.9 (57) lead at the final break. The Shinboner faithful dared to dream.
A fourth quarter capitulation dashed North’s hopes, though — Adelaide piled on eight goals to one in the final term and ran away to a seven-goal win.
While the Kangaroos showed signs of improvement in the second and third quarters, the side still has plenty of work to do ahead of its clash with Geelong next week.