The stars are starting to align for North Melbourne, with signs that their bad luck with injuries is starting to change.
North Melbourne’s injury run is starting to ease, with Lachie Hansen cleared to play against Carlton and Jack Ziebell a chance to return.
Leigh Adams also has pulled up well from the weekend and is a definite starter, while injured players Daniel Wells, Nathan Grima and Jamie Macmillan are making good progress in their rehabilitation.
Hansen was subbed off with a head knock during Saturday’s win over St Kilda in Hobart, but coach Brad Scott said the key position player was a certainty for the clash on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.
“The doctor is convinced he’s okay,” Scott said.
While Ziebell could return from a knee injury, Scott said that hinged on how he went at Wednesday training.
“We don’t want to bring him back in unless he’s playing close to his best,” Scott said.
Adams (knee) is in no doubt for the Blues clash.
Wells (foot), Grima (foot) and Macmillan (leg) have all been long-term injuries.
“We think they’ll all be very close to being available pretty soon after the bye,” Scott said.
“It looks like there’s upside for us on the injury front.”
It’s one of several signs that the planets are aligning for the Kangaroos, six matches out from the finals.
But all that will change if they drop their guard against Carlton and repeat their shock loss to Brisbane in round 15.
For all the respect North gained the following week when they upset Hawthorn, the `Roos are well aware that they are yet to prove themselves.
They are sixth on the ladder, one win and percentage ahead of ninth.
“We take a glass half-full approach and we probably take more notice of the results that are happening to teams above us on the ladder,” Scott said.
“But even then, it’s a cursory glance.
“I still don’t regard us as a genuine contender with the top five or six sides.
“We still have some improvement, but I’m really optimistic that if we produce our best on a regular basis for the next six games, we’re going to be pushing those good sides.”
Scott added Carlton had abundant talent and are an obvious danger.
“In terms of playing well against the best, we’ve shown we can do that,” he said.
“But good sides don’t have the dropoffs that we’ve had.”